“Anyone who chooses of their own free will to work with vulnerable people takes on a special professional responsibility,” he told regional paper Rheinische Post.
“We need mandatory vaccination for personnel in schools and nurseries.”
At present, the EU-approved vaccines are only permitted for over-12s. While adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 are able to get a jab, however, Germany’s Standing Vaccines Commission has not yet issued a firm recommendation that they do so – unless they have a pre-existing condition that might make them particularly vulnerable to Covid.
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According to Henn, teachers and nursery workers have an obligation to protect the children they work with – especially those under 12.
Although children are considered to have a fairly low risk of getting seriously ill from Covid, they can still bring home the virus to their families, he added.
- Unvaccinated children could jeopardise herd immunity, German health experts warn
- Masks and Covid tests should continue in Germany’s schools until 2022, say health officials
On Sunday, French media sources reported that the country’s public health advisor was calling on the government to introduce mandatory vaccination for medical professionals. President Macron is expected to make an announcement on this on Monday evening.
Speaking to Rheinische Post, Henn said that people who have professional contact with other vulnerable groups should also have a compulsory jab.
The move would particularly protect those who are undergoing intense courses of treatment for diseases such as cancer, or who are otherwise unable to get a vaccine due to their weakened immune system, he said.
First jabs sink to February levels
With almost 60 percent of the German population having received at least one shot, the vaccination drive continues to drag it feet.
On Monday, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) tweeted to say that physicians had administered “as few first doses… as in February,” when Germany was struggling to gets its inoculation campaign off the ground.
“Unlike February, we now have enough vaccines,” Spahn added. “The fact remains: please get vaccinated!”
35,4 Mio Bürgerinnen und Bürger (42,6%) haben den vollen Impfschutz, 48,6 Mio (58,5%) sind mindestens einmal geimpft. So wenig Erstimpfungen wie gestern hatten wir zuletzt im Februar – anders als im Februar ist nun aber genug Impfstoff da. Es bleibt dabei: Bitte impfen lassen!
— Jens Spahn (@jensspahn) July 12, 2021
According to the governmental vaccination tracker Impfdashboard.de, just over 221,000 people in Germany received a jab on Sunday.
That’s around a sixth of the daily jabs that Germany was achieving when the campaign finally picked up pace in May.