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COVID-19 VACCINES

German parliament to vote on general vaccine mandate in April

A vote on introducing a Covid-19 vaccine mandate in Germany is to take place in the Bundestag at the beginning of April following delays.

People queue for a Covid-19 vaccine in Stuttgart.
People queue for a Covid-19 vaccine in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

German MPs were originally set to vote on the introduction of a compulsory vaccination by the end of March. 

However, the vote will now take place at the start of April – despite the political challenges of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

The politicians leading the two group motions for compulsory vaccination – the SPD’s Dirk Wiese and the FDP’s Andrew Ullmann – said they did not expect any further delays in the parliamentary process. 

“The first reading of the group motions is scheduled for Thursday, March 17th,” Wiese told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

As the government is not presenting its own bill to the Bundestag, various cross-party bills are being prepared.

The bill led by the SPD’s Wiese proposes a vaccine mandate for all adults in Germany. Another (by the FDP’s Ullmann) proposes a mandate for everyone aged 50 and over.

Meanwhile, Bundestag vice president Wolfgang Kubicki (FDP) is gathering support for legislation against compulsory jabs.

The proposals have been hit by several delays. The first reading of a government bill was originally supposed to take place in January, but was then pushed back to early February.

Due to mandatory vaccines being a sensitive issue, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pledged a free vote among members of the Bundestag on any bill, which means they won’t have to stick to a party line.  

Wiese and Ullmann have urged the opposition conservatives (CDU/CSU) to allow their members to vote freely with their conscience.

“Compulsory vaccination is not a party-political issue,” said Ullmann.

READ ALSO: ‘Doubtful’: German government rows over general vaccine mandate

According to Wiese, the number of supporters for the motion to make vaccination compulsory from the age of 18 has continued to rise in recent weeks.

“The number of signatories now is 233,” he said.

“The issue remains extremely important,” the SPD politician stressed, adding that the law is about preparing for autumn when experts believe there could be another Covid wave. 

So far, about 75.6 percent of the German population has had two Covid-19 jabs, and around 57.4 percent have received their booster shot.

From March 15th Covid vaccinations will become mandatory for health and care workers in Germany. 

Meanwhile, the nationwide 7-day incidence of Covid infections has risen again for the fifth consecutive day.

On Monday there were 1,259.2 confirmed Covid infections per 100,000 people within seven days. Germany’s health offices reported 78,428 infections and 24 deaths within the latest 24 hour period. Figures are usually lower after the weekend due to reporting delays. 

READ ALSO: What would a general vaccine mandate mean for the German job market?

Vocabulary

Vote – (die) Abstimmung

General vaccine mandate – (die) allgemeine Impfpflicht

Party political issue/question – (die) parteipolitische Frage

Member comments

  1. I sure hope one day the government will be around to make all peoples choices for them. Forced informed consent.

    All for no choices and censorship.

  2. Guess I am going to have a problem if Mandated.
    The idiots are still in love with so called ‘number of cases’ (including all the false definitions).

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Germany’s Scholz rules out second attempt at vaccine mandate

After an attempt to introduce an over-60s vaccine mandate was rejected in parliament, German chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has said his government will not bring the issue to a vote again.

Germany's Scholz rules out second attempt at vaccine mandate

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has rejected the idea of a second attempt to introduce mandatory Covid vaccinations.

“There is no legislative majority in the Bundestag for compulsory vaccination,” he said on Thursday evening after consultations with the leaders of the federal states in Berlin.

Expressing his regret at the lack of support for the move, he said this reality would have to be the “starting point” for any future vaccination drives. 

“I am, of course, disappointed that there was no majority today, I don’t want to hide that at all,” said Scholz. “I am still convinced that it would be right to have compulsory vaccination in Germany. With the Bundestag decision, however, a very clear statement by the legislator had now been made.”

Despite the fact that Covid-19 vaccines have been available in Germany for more than a year, around 24 percent of the population still have no vaccine protection whatsoever.

Of these, around 4-5 percent are too young to get the Covid vaccine, but around 20 percent are either against the idea or still on the fence. 

“We will do everything we can to convince even more citizens of this country to get vaccinated,” Scholz told reporters. “This will require our creativity.”

READ ALSO: Scholz gets stinging defeat in parliament with Covid jab vote

On Thursday, a bill for compulsory vaccination for everyone over the age of 60 was voted down in the Bundestag, dealing a painful blow to its supporters in the traffic-light coalition. 

The bill had been promoted primarily by SPD and Green MPs, including Scholz himself and Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD). A motion from the opposition CDU/CSU parties to introduce a vaccine register and potential target vaccine mandates was also rejected by the house. 

‘Bitter defeat’

Scholz is not alone in ruling out the possibility of reviving the vaccine mandate issue. 

Speaking to Tagesschau in Berlin, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the failure of the bill had been a “bitter defeat” that made it unlikely that any future bill on the subject would gain enough support to succeed.

“It’s a clear result that has to be lived with,” he said. “I’m sceptical about whether we can still achieve anything through additional talks.”

In a democracy, he said, this had to be respected.

But he explained that the failure of compulsory vaccination is bad news for vulnerable patients, for those who work to treat and care for Covid patients, and for all those who have to live with restrictions. A new wave of infections is likely by autumn at the latest, Lauterbach said.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister to target undecided in new Covid jab campaign

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