German health expert calls for ‘more disadvantages’ for unvaccinated

The president of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, says people who decide against getting a jab should pay for their own Covid tests in future.

German health expert calls for 'more disadvantages' for unvaccinated
Klaus Reinhardt, President of the German Medical Association, wants the unvaccinated to bear the cost of their own Covid tests. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

“If everyone has a chance to get fully vaccinated by the end of summer, it is fair that the unvaccinated should have to pay for rapid or PCR tests for themselves when going on holiday, going to restaurants or going to the cinema,” Reinhardt told the German Editorial Network.

“In the end, it shouldn’t be the case that the community has to pay for individuals who are unwilling to get vaccinated,” he added.

To ensure that people understand the benefits of vaccination, Reinhardt believes politicians should make clear “that in the long run there will be more and more disadvantages for unvaccinated people”.

‘A question of fairness’

The Federal Government’s Tourism Commissioner, Thomas Bareiß (CDU), also sees the end of free coronavirus tests for those unwilling to vaccinate as “a question of fairness”.

Until now, the cost of the free rapid tests – or PCR tests for those with symptoms – have been paid for by the taxpayer.

Bareiß said on Wednesday that the state-subsidised tests should continue until everyone received a vaccination offer.

READ ALSO: Will Germany charge unvaccinated people for Covid tests in future?

It is also clear, however, that those who refuse to vaccinate have to be aware of their responsibility and in future should bear the costs of any tests that are still necessary for socialising, travelling or attending events, he added.

German government targets ‘undecided’

With the vaccination campaign slowing down at present, politicians on both a federal and state level are now attempting to target people who are still on the fence about vaccination.

READ MORE: ‘We need more advertising’: Germany moves focus of vaccine drive to target the undecided

Speaking alongside Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Tuesday, Chancellor Merkel said the country had reached a situation where there were more vaccines than people willing to be vaccinated.

While the government is currently ruling out any kind of mandatory vaccination scheme, phasing out the free tests – and asking the unvaccinated to pay for their own – could potentially be on the cards for autumn, according to Spahn. 

Meanwhile, state governments are taking the matter into their own hands, with drive-through vaccination clinics and pop-up centres in swimming pools, supermarkets and even takeaway restaurants. 

In Bavaria, state premier Markus Söder said this week that he wanted to bring in vaccinated-only clubs and nightlife in autumn. Söder, who launched a failed bid to succeed Merkel earlier this year, has previously spoken out in favour of paid-for tests for the unvaccinated.

READ MORE: Bavaria mulls reopening clubs – but only for the vaccinated

As of Wednesday, 58.9 percent of the population had received at least one dose, while 43.7 percent were fully immunised.

Member comments

  1. People who choose to stay unsafe (especially towards others) and not vaccinate should pay for testing and be excluded from certain situations etc. (We can put these people in the same box as the idiots who text when driving).

    People who have a genuine medical condition that does not allow them to be vaccinated are not in the same category, of course.

    Stay well x

    1. One of my work colleagues is severely sick after his second jab. Another friend has developed chronic fatigue which is very limiting to him. Two kids died after the jab, recently the BBC reporter died after a jab (search it, it is public). Do not dare to force a non-licensed drug on others. If you are scared of the covid, jab yourself and you will be protected. Leave the rest decide for themselves.

  2. Let’s take this a step further. Anyone who continues to consume animal products, consciously contributing to the climate crisis and the systematic and barbaric exploitation of sentient beings as well as those who do not exercise should also be penalized. Why should those of us who choose to live ethically subsidize those who does not.

    1. If the government starts doing such non-sense, I want to see how many will continue voting for them or paying taxes to feed them.

  3. Are they insane? It is a non-licensed product and not to mention that our health is a private matter and each person should decide their own risk-benefit with their doctor. Who is the government to tell us what vaccine or what medication will be good for me. Is the government assuming accountability for death or damage from these jabs, no matter how rare they may be, the jabs have risk which each person should decide about, because it is your life and you will carry on with the burden at the end. It is a personal decision. We are people not herd. I am fed up of threats on limiting our civil rights. Does the government know who pays them to be where they are? I hope this non-sense ends soon.. This is our health and not a political campaign.

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Are people who’ve had the single J&J jab no longer fully vaccinated in Germany?

Germany's federal vaccine agency says that people who've had one dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine should no longer be classed as being fully vaccinated.

People queue for a vaccination in Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt.
People queue for a vaccination in Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

People who’ve had J&J, sometimes known as Janssen, used to have full vaccination status after a single dose of the vaccine. 

Since January 15th, however, a single dose of J&J should no longer count as full vaccination, according to the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the country’s vaccine authority. 

In autumn last year the German government began recommending a second mRNA jab for people who’d had J&J – which many people thought was the booster vaccination. 

However, according to the PEI’s update on proof of vaccination within the Covid Protective Measures Exemption Ordinance and the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance, the second shot is needed to complete ‘basic immunisation’.

It is unclear at this stage if it means that people returning or coming to Germany from abroad with only one shot of J&J will be counted as partially vaccinated and therefore need to present tests or face other forms of barriers to entry. 

We are also looking into what this means for the various health pass rules in states, such as the 3G rules for transport. 

The Deutsches Ärzteblatt, a German-language medical magazine, said: “Special rules according to which one dose was recognised as a complete vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are no longer applicable.”

The Local has contacted the German Health Ministry for clarification on what this means for those affected. 

According to the latest government figures, 5.3 million doses of Johnson & Johnson have been given out in Germany so far in the vaccination campaign. 

The news will come as a shock to those who don’t know that they need another jab, or haven’t got round to getting their second vaccine yet. 

All other jabs – such as BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca – already require two jabs. 

People in Germany are seen as fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose. 

What about boosters?

As The Local Germany has been reporting, the German government said in December that people who’ve had J&J need a third shot three months after their second dose to be considered boosted.

A German Health Ministry spokesman told us last week that due to more vaccination breakthrough infections affecting people who’ve had the J&J vaccine, extra protection was needed.

“Therefore, after completion of the basic immunisation as recommended by STIKO, i.e. after administration of two vaccine doses (preferably 1x J&J + 1x mRNA), following the current recommendation of the STIKO, a further booster vaccination can subsequently be administered with a minimum interval of a further three months, as with the other approved Covid-19 vaccines,” the Health Ministry spokesman said. 

However, there has been much confusion on this front because some states have been accepting J&J and another shot as being boosted, while others haven’t.


It is unclear if the new regulation will mean that states will all have to only accept J&J and two shots as being boosted. 

North Rhine-Westphalia, for instance, updated its regulations on January 16th and now requires that people who’ve had J&J and one shot have another jab to be boosted. 

Having a booster shot in Germany means that you do not have to take a Covid-19 test if you’re entering a venue, such as a restaurant or cafe, under the 2G-plus rules.

The Paul Ehrlich Institute said that proof of complete vaccination protection against Covid takes into account “the current state of medical science”.