Germany considering full Covid lockdown and mandatory vaccines

Senior physician Thomas Marx puts on his personal protective equipment (PPE) before entering the room of a patient infected with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in an intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital in Freising, southern Germany .

LENNART PREISS | AFP | Getty Images

Germany will decide on stricter Covid-19 restrictions and could even opt for a complete lockdown amid record numbers of daily infections and increasing pressure on hospitals.

Olaf Scholz, Chancellor-designated of Germany, said on Wednesday that the Covid situation was serious and the country would massively push its vaccination campaign, noting that “vaccination is the way out of this pandemic”.

Scholz said Germany should “make vaccination mandatory for certain groups” without specifying which groups, while new finance minister Christian Lindner stated that Germans should avoid all unnecessary contacts this winter “to preserve all our health in this pandemic.” “.

That Scholz chose to tackle the Covid crisis when he and his new government colleagues announced a draft coalition deal on Wednesday shows where the officials’ immediate priorities lie.

‘Vaccinated, recovered or dead’

Last week, the government and the federal states agreed to continue national restrictions which would come into effect based on the hospitalization rate in the respective state.

Hospitals and vaccines

The idea of ​​mandatory vaccinations has been a controversial one in Europe, but the dramatic Covid landscape has caused the debate to widen, with some officials saying mandating vaccines is the only way to stop the virus.

Covid vaccines significantly reduce the risk of serious infection, hospitalization and death from the virus, but we also know that vaccine immunity declines after about six months and they are not 100% effective at reducing transmission.

Experts say there are a number of ethical questions regarding vaccine mandates, but some countries have sidelined concerns in favor of the overall benefit that vaccination provides.

Read more: Are Covid Vaccine Mandates Ethical? This is what medical experts think

Austria has already announced that it will make Covid vaccines mandatory from February 1 next year (it has also just implemented a full lockdown), and a number of countries (such as Italy and France) have made Covid vaccines mandatory for frontline health workers. The UK will follow in the spring of 2022.

German states have called for mandatory vaccinations for medical and healthcare personnel, and the idea is being considered by the federal government, which had previously ruled out mandatory vaccination.

That some lawmakers are now calling for mandatory vaccination shows the current level of concern in Germany over the Covid crisis.

“We have reached a point where we have to say clearly that we need de facto mandatory vaccination and a lockdown for unvaccinated,” said Tilman Kuban, head of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union youth wing. wrote in the newspaper Die Welt on Sunday, noting that 90% of coronavirus patients in German intensive care beds are unvaccinated.

The unvaccinated, Kuban said, brought Germany “to the brink of despair,” adding that “the entire population cannot be locked up every winter.”

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