Merkel’s husband calls unvaccinated Germans ‘lazy’

Angela Merkel's husband Joachim Sauer
Joachim Sauer, the husband of Angela Merkel, visits Turin, Italy on November 22nd, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/ANSA via ZUMA Press | Tino Romano
Chancellor Angela Merkel's husband on Tuesday accused unvaccinated Germans of "laziness" as the country struggles to contain a dramatic surge in coronavirus infections.

Germany’s Covid-19 resurgence has in part been blamed on its relatively low vaccination rate compared with other Western European nations like France, Italy or Spain, with just 68 percent of the population fully jabbed.

“It is astonishing that a third of the population does not follow scientific findings,” Merkel’s husband, Joachim Sauer, said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica and picked up by German daily Die Welt.

“In part, this is due to a certain laziness and complacency of Germans,” said Sauer, who rarely speaks in public.

“The other group are people who follow a personal conviction, a kind of ideological reaction to what they consider a vaccination dictatorship,” Sauer said, a cohort he said also included doctors and scientists.

READ ALSO: How a spiritual movement is connected to German vaccine scepticism

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Like his famous wife, Sauer is a quantum chemist and was in Italy on an academic visit.

The couple keep a low profile and Sauer rarely speaks to the media. One of the few occasions when they are photographed together is during their annual visit to the Bayreuth opera festival.

Sauer added that Germans’ vaccine hesitancy was all the more regrettable given the “miracle” of how quickly safe and effective jabs were developed during the pandemic.

Sauer’s comments come a day after Merkel warned that Germany wasn’t doing enough to curb the “highly dramatic” fourth wave of the pandemic.

The outgoing chancellor, who is acting in a caretaker capacity and will likely be replaced by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz next month, has repeatedly urged Germans to get vaccinated.

The sluggish vaccine uptake and rapidly filling intensive care beds have ignited a fierce debate about whether Germany should follow Austria’s example and make coronavirus jabs compulsory.

Merkel’s government has in the past always ruled out doing so, but several leading politicians, including Bavarian premier Markus Soeder, have in recent days called for mandatory vaccinations.

READ ALSO: Fact check: Could Germany legally introduce compulsory vaccination?

Free football tickets

Bavarian Premier Markus Söder, from Merkel’s conservative camp, and his Baden-Württemberg counterpart Winfried Kretschmann, from the Green party, issued a joint plea for mandatory jabs in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.

Society will “pay an ever higher price for a small part of the population” rejecting the vaccine offer, they warned, stressing that mandatory jabs were necessary “to give us back our freedoms”.

Hesse premier Volker Bouffier, whose state is home to the city of Mainz where the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs were co-developed, also came out in favour of compulsory Covid-19 jabs.

Merkel’s centre-right CDU party, which is gearing up for a stint as the opposition, urged the incoming Scholz-led coalition government to tell the German public where they stood on the issue.

In one novel attempt to entice Germans to get jabbed, a foundation in Frankfurt has invited more than 200 homeless people to turn up for free curry sausages and get inoculated at the same time.

Separately, local officials in Hanover said Tuesday they would give away 1,000 tickets to the January 23 second-division football game between Hannover 96 and Dynamo Dresden to those getting their first or booster jab in coming days.

Germany added 45,326 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute health agency.

A further 309 people died, bringing the total toll since the start of the pandemic to just under 100,000.

Germany’s weekly incidence rate stood at 399.8 new infections per 100,000 people, an all-time high.


Member comments

  1. so somehow society is “paying a price” for people who choose not to allow a pharmaceutical product to go inside their bodies, yet those who do allow this product to go inside their bodies are still not protected (maybe at all, but definitely not after 6 months) and can still be contagious and spread the illness? none of this makes sense to anyone who is looking at the situation critically. there is no silver bullet here, otherwise the flu would have been eradicated years ago. blaming the ongoing situation on people who are making various personal choices is not only unhelpful, it’s intellectually ridiculous. and implying that the situation will disappear and we will all suddenly be “given back our freedoms” when the whole world accepts this pharmaceutical product is also obviously not based in any kind of reality. we will be given back our freedoms when those who are taking those freedoms away decide to stop doing so.

    1. Vaccination against infectious and deadly diseases is no more a “personal choice” than having health or driver’s insurance. It’s an obligation to protect everyone, and it doesn’t work if it’s just opt-in. Your personal choices are your own when they affect only yourself, but they are no longer personal when they affect the broader community. One would think that such a basic social concept would be common sense.

      All of the most critical vaccines in human history, i.e. polio, measles, smallox, etc, are “pharmaceutical products”. Your disingenuous attempt to bait legitimate systemic concerns with the pharma industry into entirely illegitimate and reckless vaccine hesitancy rings just as hollow as your laughably hypocritical charges of intellectual dishonesty.

      Get vaccinated, or accept the consequences of your own stupid and anti-social decisions.

  2. It just keeps getting worse and worse here. None of the Germans I speak to care about what’s happening – they only care about whether they can get a haircut, or go to their yoga class.

    It’s not laziness, it’s selfishness.

    1. @Meenzer — yes, it is selfishness, but it is also laziness. When combined together the outcome of those two ugly traits are people who are uninformed, believing nonsense and spouting nonsense.

      I am American and live in Bavaria — Nürnberg. My wife is German, Fränkisch for sure. She, her family and ou extensive group of friends (including ones living outside of Bavaria) do care about what’s happening. So, I assume we are a part of the 66% of the country that have been raised to have compassion and respect for others. It’s a pity that you are around the 33% who have no cares about anyone but themself.

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