German politicians are considering making COVID-19 mandatory for their citizens, in light of the high incidence of infections and low vaccination rates.
Many members of the conservative bloc of Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that mandatory vaccinations should be introduced by both federal and state governments soon. This is because other attempts to increase Germany’s low immunization rate of 68% have failed.
Tilman Kuban (head of the youth wing in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, CDU) wrote in Die Welt that “We have reached a point where we must clearly state that we need de facto mandatory vaccination and a lockdown to the unvaccinated.”
Germany’s seven-day coronavirus incidence rate climbed to 372.7 nationally, the highest since Sunday 14th of December.
It has exceeded 1,000 in some areas, with some hospitals reporting full intensive care units. In December’s third pandemic wave, the record was 197.6.
Since February 2020, 5.35 million cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in Germany. The death toll is now at 99,062.
Bavarian State Premier Markus Soeder demanded a fast decision to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory, while Schleswig-Holstein state Premier Daniel Guenther suggested that authorities at least consider such a step in order to increase the pressure on citizens who are not vaccinated.
Danyal Bayaz is an influential Greens member and Finance Minister in Baden-Wuerttemberg, a state with high infection rates. He said that it would be a mistake to exclude compulsory vaccination at this stage of the pandemic.
The Greens are currently in negotiations with the Social Democrats (Centre-left) and Libertarian Free Democrats to form a coalition government at the federal level.
The parties are close to securing a coalition agreement that would allow Olaf Scholz, the SPD’s Finance Minister, to succeed Merkel in the first half of December.
Scholz stated that he would like to see a debate on whether vaccination should be compulsory for nurses and health care workers. FDP members voiced objections to this step because the party places a greater emphasis on individual freedom.
Austria, a neighbouring country, announced this week a plan for making vaccines mandatory next year.
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