Germany pushes back 80 percent vaccination target

The entrance of the vaccination centre at the former 'International Congress Center' (ICC) in Berlin
The entrance of the vaccination centre at the former 'International Congress Center' (ICC) in Berlin on December 20th, 2021. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
Amid stalling vaccination rates over the holiday period, Germany has extended its deadline to the end of January for when 80 percent of its population should have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine .

A government spokesperson confirmed the extension to ARD-Hauptstadtstudio TV on Sunday. The deadline was originally set for January 7th. 

Currently, 61.4 million people in Germany ,or 73.8 percent of the population, have had at least one jab against Covid-19. To achieve the government’s 80 percent target, around five million more people need to receive their first dose.

Vaccination centres and doctors’ surgeries are closed on public holidays in many cities across Germany, so although there are special vaccination campaigns over Christmas and New Year, the rate at which people are getting jabbed has slowed considerably.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 67,000 Covid-19 vaccinations, including 51,000 boosters, were carried out on Christmas Eve. Two days earlier, on Wednesday, the figures were significantly higher: 710,000 vaccinations, including 561,000 booster jabs.

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To increase uptake, politicians have been discussing making the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory in the wider population. The issue is on the table for discussion in parliament when it returns in the new year.

In a recommendation published on Wednesday, the German Ethics Council came out in favour of extending the recently adopted compulsory vaccination for staff in healthcare institutions to “significant sections of the population”.

SPD parliamentary group deputy chair Dirk Wiese told Bild am Sonntag that “an initial debate” on this would take place in the Bundestag at the start of January, explaining that the issue was not a simple one legally, with matters, such as the timeline for when someone loses their vaccination status legally and requires a booster, to be resolved.

The question of how vaccination status would be monitored and fines also remain unresolved, although German politicians have previously stated that under possible vaccine mandates, people would be fined if they refused them and never forced to take a vaccine.

And CSU head Markus Söder told Welt am Sonntag he was “convinced” that making vaccination compulsory would overcome the current divide in society rather than deepen it.

“Many people would realise that it’s not so bad to get vaccinated – and that it actually protects you and gives you freedom,” the Bavarian Minister-President said.

READ ALSO: Q&A: ‘I was against vaccine mandates in Germany – until hospitals became overwhelmed’

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

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