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COVID-19

People who disobey vaccine mandates will face ‘considerable’ fines, says German Health Minister

As the German parliament votes through a vaccine mandate for medical and care workers, the new Health Minister has clarified that people who avoid compulsory Covid jabs will face fines rather than prison sentences.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach in the Bundestag
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) defends proposals for mandatory jabs for health workers in the Bundestag on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

“Nobody will have to go to prison,” Karl Lauterbach explained in an interview with Speigel on Friday.

Instead, the SPD politician said the government will levy fines on people who deliberately ignore any vaccine mandates. “The imposition of fines is unavoidable,” Lauterbach said. 

He said it was necessary to talk to psychologists and economists to determine “at what point fines start to have an effect” before setting the level of the fines.  

If someone doesn’t pay, the fines will have to be increased considerably, he said, adding: “I’m sure that just by announcing the general vaccination requirement, we’ll reach a lot of people.”

In the interview with Spiegel, Germany’s new Health Minister also spoke out in favour of a vaccine mandate for teachers and nursery school employees in light of the latest findings about the Omicron variant.

“According to everything we know so far, the new Omicron variant infects children much more easily than the previous variants,” he said. “The children become infected more often, and they also fall ill more severely.” 

This is also the reason that parents should take up the opportunity to get their children vaccinated, he added. 

When the new government’s amendments to the Infection Protection Act are approved Bundesrat on Friday, it will bring Germany’s first Covid vaccine mandate into force.

From March 15th, 2022, employees in clinics, doctors’ surgeries and care homes will have to show proof that they are fully vaccinated – or present a doctor’s note explaining why they are unable to get their jabs. 

READ ALSO: How Germany is tightening Covid laws to allow for more restrictions

The step towards compulsory jabs for certain sections of the population follows similar moves by France, Italy, Britain and Greece.

Neighbouring Austria plans to bring in a general vaccine mandate by next February, with fines of around €3,000 for people who still refuse to get their Covid jabs.

Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he is in favour of compulsory jabs but the general public, but he will need to secure the support of a majority of parliamentarians when the matter is put to a vote later this month.

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Member comments

  1. Quite incredible. Certainly the end of the rule of law in Europe. So much for the Enlightenment. Sounds very like a new Dark Age is about to engulf the Continent – again.

    1. Oh quit your melodramatic bellyaching. Vaccine mandates are nothing new. It’s been necessary a necessary step for other diseases in the past and it’s a necessary step again. Take off your tinfoil hat and get vaccinated.

      1. The odd thing is that the new variant sweeping Europe and displacing all others, has only mild symptoms and has so far resulted in zero hospitalisations and zero deaths. The vaccines on the other hand which have variously been banned for the over 65s, then banned for the under 65s and finally reinstated for the over 65s but banned for other age groups on a fluctuating basis are now to be compulsory despite the certainty of serious side effects for some. Still, you seem like a nice compliant bloke and I’m sure you and yours will be just fine.

        1. If you think that nearly a quarter of ICU beds in Germany being occupied by COVID patients isn’t serious, your privilege and hubris are beyond measure.

          You seem to think that refusing to inoculate yourself against deadly diseases makes you a rebel. It doesn’t. It makes you selfish, irresponsible, and quite frankly stupid. Have fun staying in permanent lockdown. You deserve the consequences of your actions.

      2. At the end of the day , it’s not only about the vaccine, it’s about our fundamental rights and our freedom to make choices for ourselves and to take on responsibility for our own health. Those who wear tinfoil hats seemed to have been able to predict what is coming. Mandatory vaccinations are necessary for some diseases, that’s correct, but not for one by which over 99% of the population are not affected. Take you vaccination, but you and the government should stop pressing your agenda on and discriminating against others!!!

        1. You mean the same people who actively endangered their fellow citizens by refusing to follow basic health and safety measures predicted that their behavior would lead to mandates? Who would’ve guessed! If you had told me that 30% of the population was that insolent, I would have predicted that as well.

          Your fundamental rights end at the point where your decisions endanger others. If you are to reap the benefits of society, you don’t have any more right to refuse vaccination than you do to refuse health insurance. That’s not discrimination. It’s the basis of civil society.

          99%? Really? Tell that to the 1/4 of ICU beds in Germany currently occupied by Covid patients. Stop spreading conspiracies and wake up already.

    2. Without vaccines, you would be thrown back to the Dark Age. Hospitals would be overwhelmed if everyone decided to ride out covid without vaccines.

  2. “ The children become infected more often, and they also fall ill more severely.”

    Really? And the evidence for this is zero.

    Children are not at any significant risk. Indeed, all the evidence is ( and I can personally testify) that repeated exposure makes symptoms far less severe the second time,

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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