Third of Germans ‘do not want Covid-19 vaccine’

More than 68,700 people in Germany have died from or with coronavirus since the pandemic began a year ago. Yet many people in the country take a critical view of vaccinations, according to a new study. 

Third of Germans 'do not want Covid-19 vaccine'
People at a vaccination centre in Hanover, Lower Saxony, at the start of February. Photo: DPA

In the survey commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, lots of respondents also said they had reservations against coronavirus restrictions in general over concerns about personal freedom.

A third of participants said they “somewhat” or “completely” rejected interventions in civil liberties to fight the pandemic.

And 34 percent said they do not want to be vaccinated at all, according to the representative survey. The remaining 66 percent are willing to receive a Covid vaccine.

The Norstat Institute interviewed more than 1,000 adults at the end of 2020 for the poll. According to the Gütersloh-based Bertelsmann Foundation, the rejection of vaccination and restrictions on freedom is above average among people who are particularly performance and success-oriented.

Yasemin El-Menouar, co-author of the study called Between Individual Freedom and the Common Good, said that the coronavirus crisis exacerbates conflicts of values already bubbling under the surface in society.

Willingness to vaccinate fluctuates

However, it is difficult to say exactly how high the willingness to be inoculated against coronavirus in Germany really is. That’s because current developments in politics and science influence the opinion of those surveyed.

A recent survey by Spiegel on the topic found a significantly higher willingness of people in Germany to be vaccinated: 74 percent. However, the poll also showed that many people attach importance to a vaccine of their choice. The vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer received the highest approval rating.

As The Local has been reporting, some people scheduled to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is said to have a lower efficacy than other vaccines available in Germany have been cancelling their appointments, leaving the jab on the shelves.

READ ALSO: ‘Millions could be vaccinated quickly’: Should Germany grant wider rollout of AstraZeneca?

The study also looked at the social impact of the pandemic. About 45 percent of the respondents said the crisis could also have positive effects – in terms of climate protection and social interaction.

And 82 percent agreed with the statement that the pandemic demonstrates “the need of far-reaching change in society”.

According to El-Menouar, politicians should make it clearer that individual freedoms are still of huge importance for society. And that restrictive measures are limited in time with the goal of being able to “lead a free and self-determined life again as quickly as possible”.

Currently, the Robert Koch Institute has been reporting a stagnating number of new infections instead of declining figures as we’ve seen since the peak at Christmas.

Figures released by the RKI on Wednesday show Germany reported 8,007 new Covid-19 infections and 422 deaths within 24 hours. Exactly a week ago, the RKI had recorded 7,556 new infections and 560 new deaths within one day.

The nationwide average number of cases per 100,000 people in seven days stood at 59.3, slightly lower than the previous day.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has registered 2,402,818 cases. The total number is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections are not detected. The total number of people who have died from or with Covid-19 now stands at 68,740.

Member comments

  1. I would say that many of the people rejecting restrictions & not wanting to be vaccinated have not been effected by the crisis. Probably they still work, earn as much as ever, & have not caught the virus, so they don’t think it has anything to do with them. We live in times of self-entitlement.

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German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

The Covid pandemic is continuing to cause problems around Germany, with concerns that the number of patients needing treatment will rise in the coming weeks.

German health agency expects number of Covid ICU patients to rise

In its weekly Covid report, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said that confirmed infections appeared to be rising in some German states, and falling in others.

But experts warned that the situation remained tense, with many infections not reported. 

Therefore, in the coming weeks, “hospitalisations, an increase in intensive care treatment and deaths are to be expected, especially among the elderly”, said the RKI.

People over the age of 80 “continue to be most affected by severe courses of the disease”, the experts said in their report. 

The incidence of infections is continuing to rise for this age group, and the number of outbreaks of Covid-19 in medical treatment facilities as well as in old people’s and nursing homes is going up.

READ ALSO: Which Covid rules are likely to return to Germany in autumn?

The number of patients with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) is also rising slightly. In the previous week, the number was reported to be around 1,330. And on Thursday July 28th, 1,550 people were in ICUs in Germany with 484 receiving ventilation treatment, according to the DIVI intensive care register. 

The number of deaths in connection with the virus is currently around just over 400 per week. The RKI says this trend is a plateau.

When it comes to the overall picture of Covid in Germany, the RKI said there was a “sideways movement rather than a decreasing trend”.

Last week, the nationwide 7-day incidence decreased slightly compared to the previous week. The overall picture shows falling incidences in most western German states and Berlin, with incidences still rising slightly in the other eastern German states and Bavaria.

The RKI estimates there’s been a total of 800,000 to 1.5 million people with Covid (who also have symptoms) in the past week alone in Germany.

Last week experts warned that they expected the Covid situation to get worse in the coming weeks as many schools in Germany return after the summer break.

READ ALSO: Germany’s summer Covid wave set to get worse

The Omicron sub-variant BA.5, which has dominated in Germany since mid-June, has almost completely displaced other variants. It accounts for 89 percent of samples in the past week, the RKI said.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned people against underestimating getting Covid again.

The SPD politician pointed out that it was very easy to become infected with BA.5 – even for those who were infected with a previous type.

He warned that many could become seriously ill or die, plus there’s the risk of picking up Long Covid.

“Therefore, we have to solve the problem not by constant infection, but by better vaccines,” Lauterbach said.

‘Call things as they are’

Lauterbach, meanwhile, defended himself against his choice of words when describing the possibility of a new dangerous Covid variant emerging in autumn. 

In an interview with Bild newspaper in April he said: “It is quite possible that we will get a highly contagious Omicron variant that is as deadly as Delta – that would be an absolute killer variant.”

He was slammed for his dramatic choice of words. 

This week Lauterbach said: “I use few vocabulary that is apocalyptic. But sometimes you have to call things as they are.”

If there were a virus that linked the contagion of the BA.5 variant with the severe course of a Delta variant, “that would be a killer variant”, he maintained.

But he stressed that he had “not said that such a variant is definitely coming, but that we have to be prepared for such a variant”.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister calls on under 60s to get next Covid jab