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?


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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What to know about getting a fourth Covid vaccination in Germany

With Covid cases rising, many people in Germany are wondering if they should get a fourth Covid jab - or second booster. Here's what you should keep in mind.

What to know about getting a fourth Covid vaccination in Germany

German states have started giving out new Covid vaccines that are specially adapted to the Omicron variant.

Though the Omicron variant is believed to cause milder courses of illness than earlier variants like Delta, it’s known for being highly transmissible and is often able to evade the body’s immune responses. 

In September, three Omicron vaccines received EU-wide approval: two vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna adapted to the BA.1 sub-variant, and another Omicron booster from BioNTech to protect against the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. 

Who should get the fourth Covid shot (second booster)?

People who belong to ‘at risk’ groups should think about getting a booster shot this autumn.

The official recommendation from the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) stipulates that people over the age of 60 should get a further booster vaccination.

In addition, people over the age of 12 who have an underlying condition that can lead to severe illness with Covid-19 should also get a shot.

Experts also recommend that residents and staff in nursing homes or long-term care facilities receive a fourth jab.

READ ALSO: When – and how – people can get the new Omicron vaccine in Germany

In STIKO’s latest guidance dated September 20th, experts also say that it may be appropriate for people at particular risk, for instance the very elderly or people with immunodeficiency, to get another shot (a fifth jab) after the fourth vaccination, although that would depend on several factors and a medical consultation. 

A Covid test centre in Rostock, northern Germany.

A Covid test centre in Rostock, northern Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

Should people under the age of 60 get a fourth jab?

If people don’t fall into a risk group and are under the age of 60, they can still receive a fourth vaccination, although it’s not officially recommended. You should have a consultation with your GP – or a doctor carrying out Covid vaccinations – if you are interested in getting the fourth jab. 

How do vaccination centres handle people under 60 who want to get another Covid shot?

There have been occasional reports in Germany that younger people who don’t belong to a risk group have been turned away from vaccination centres because they don’t qualify for a booster jab. 

However, The Local has anecdotally heard that people have been able to get a jab from a vaccination station or centre, regardless of their health condition or age.

A spokesperson at the health department of the city Munich told broadcaster BR24 that carrying out a fourth vaccination is decided on a case-by-case basis and is a decision taken by the medical expert giving out the jab “in each case”.

Where is the fourth vaccination available? 

There are still lots of walk-in vaccination centres across the country, while many doctors and pharmacies also carry out jabs. You should search online or contact your GP for more information. 

Many towns and cities are reporting a significant increase in demand since the new vaccines adapted for Omicron variants became available.

READ ALSO: Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

How many people in Germany have been vaccinated?

According to official figures, 76.3 percent of the German population has received two Covid jabs. Just over 62 percent have also received a booster jab, and 9.9 percent have been given a second booster vaccination.

Around 18.4 million people (22.2 percent) in Germany are not vaccinated. For four million of these people aged 0 to four years (4.8 percent), no licensed vaccine is available.

Does getting the flu vaccination help against Covid?

Coronaviruses and the flu are different viruses, so the flu jab cannot protect against Covid-19. However, those who have a weaker immune system can strengthen their body in fighting a virus by getting a flu shot, according to experts. The immune system can then better use resources it saves against a possible Covid infection.

The fourth Covid jab and the flu shot can be administered to patients at the same time, according to the STIKO – although they don’t have to be.

If this is the case, the injections are given in different arms. However, it could be the case that patients have a stronger reaction if both jabs are carried out at the same time, so keep that in mind. 

READ ALSO: Can anyone in Germany get a second Covid booster jab?