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COVID-19

German conservatives float mandatory vaccination for over-50s

Germany’s opposition conservatives are proposing to only require vaccination of people over 50, instead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s plan to require all adults to get the jab.

A medical worker getting ready to vaccinate.
The German government is trying to put together a general vaccination requirement by March. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

Bundestag Member Stephan Pilsinger (CSU), a doctor and health policy specialist sitting in parliament with the Bavarian conservative sister party to the Christian Democrats, says the CDU/CSU – known as the Union – will put its own draft law on mandatory vaccination before parliament.

The Union’s proposal would require only people in Germany aged 50 and over to get vaccinated for Covid-19.

That would be a challenge to new Social Democrat Chancellor Scholz, who wants to require everyone in Germany to get the shot – despite some pushback from MPs among his coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP) who have come out against mandatory vaccination, at least for now.

READ ALSO: Scholz pushes mandatory jabs as resistance grows in Germany

“Because the majority of Covid patients in intensive care are over 50, we can effectively protect the health system with compulsory vaccination of people who are over 50, while still keeping the encroachment on societal freedom as low as possible,” Pilsinger told newspapers with the Funke media group.

Pilsinger says Union parliamentarians will prioritise working on their own draft law rather than participating in cross-party consultations on a mandatory vaccination law to begin later in January.

Chancellor Scholz is hoping to pass a vaccination requirement for all German residents sometime in late February or early March, despite the resistance.

The mandate will be debated and voted on in parliament. 

Vaccination requirements for certain professions

Beginning on March 15th, certain employees, such as nurses or others in care professions, will have to begin carrying proof of full vaccination, or a medical certificate confirming they cannot be vaccinated, but the Bundestag has yet to vote on a general vaccination requirement.

Unlike a general vaccination requirement similar to Austria’s current law, which would require everyone in Germany to be inoculated against Covid-19, the Union’s proposal mirrors Italy’s current law. Italian legislation requires only people over 50 years-old to receive a shot.

READ ALSO: German state vaccination centres roll out booster jabs for teenagers

Vaccination is currently voluntary in Germany, with about 72 percent of people having had two shots, and about 43 percent having received their booster jab. That’s a rate that lags considerably behind countries like Portugal or Ireland, which have seen over 90 percent of eligible adults get vaccinated.

Vocabulary

Vaccination requirement or obligation – (die) Impfpflicht  

A “general” vaccination requirement or obligation that applies to everyone, not just specific age groups or professions – (die) Allgemeine Impfpflicht 

Employees – (die) Angestellte

Care professions – (die) Pflegeberufe

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

Member comments

    1. No because, like back then. Its not directly affecting their lives.
      As long as they do what they are told, they are safe

  1. From official statistics office ca 27000 ICU in Germany, (does not include Intermediate beds).
    From RKI Current Status Reports occupancy of operable ICU beds:
    e.g.
    01/12/2021= 20.8%
    23/12/2021 = 20.1%
    28/12/2021 = 19.0%
    11/01/2022 = 14.6%
    12/01/2021 = 14.0% this percentage alone gives 3780 of 27000 occupancy.

    Almost 80 years old and may be subject to Mandatory vaccinations!

    Media and Political madness prevails.

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For members

HEALTH

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point. 

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