Germany pledges to stick with vaccine mandates despite Austria U-turn

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's support for a general vaccine mandate "has not changed," his spokesman said on Thursday, after Austria backed out of a similar plan for its adult population.

Germany pledges to stick with vaccine mandates despite Austria U-turn
A woman demonstrated against vaccine mandates in Frankfurt in February. Photo: dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

“We need universal vaccination coverage to prepare for the fall and winter,” government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner said. He added that Scholz had the support of all 16 of Germany’s state leaders on this issue.

On Wednesday, Austria confirmed that it was suspending the plan. Austria was the only other country in Europe that had gone down the path of a general vaccine mandate for all adults.

Austria’s government said the law would be “put on hold” due to the fact that the milder symptoms associated with the dominant Omicron variant no longer justified such an intrusion into personal rights.

In both Germany and Austria, the plans to take choice away from the individual on Covid vaccines has proved highly contentious with opponents organising sizeable demonstrations against the proposed measures.

There had been speculation for several weeks that Austria would postpone its compulsory vaccine programme.

In Germany, two bills for vaccine mandates are set to be voted on by the Bundestag a the beginning of April.

A bill brought forward by the SPD’s deputy faction leader Dirk Wiese proposes a vaccine mandate for all adults in Germany. Another brought by the FDP’s Andrew Ullmann proposes a mandate for everyone aged 50 and over.

Currently, some three quarters of the Germany population have been vaccinated twice against Covid-19 while 57 percent of the population have also received a booster jab.

READ MORE: German parliament to vote on general vaccine mandate in April

Member comments

  1. Im sure my comment will be silenced. But I’ll have a punt anyways.
    Austria canceled their mandate after the pfizer paper release. The papers the FDA and pfizer wanted locked away for over 50 years.
    These papers showed the vaccine to be completely safe with only 158,000 adverse reactions . And only 1223 deaths and only 9400 unknown outcomes.
    But they have redacted how many doses were safely administered. So we don’t know percentages. And it’s only for like. 3 months as the remainder of the time still haven’t been released.
    The risk vs reward factor has changed. Not just a little, its completely changed.
    I would love to know how many politicians have shares in the phama industries because to still be pushing for this. Its bordering on either incompetence or criminality. Or both.

  2. So they are ignoring the latest news about the damage and deaths that were hidden by pfizer. Information is now coming out a out damage to the natural immune system and how successful the Ivermectin studies have been. I suggest people watch John Campbells (UK) videos. He cant be absolutely blunt about what he really thinks as YT would ban him and still Germany pushing the so called vaccine.
    The medical experts who tried to warn the public were silenced but now they are speaking up and being listened to. Still havent seen campaigns promoting vitamin D3 here.

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Reader question: Can under-5s get vaccinated against Covid in Germany?

Vaccines for children aged six months to five-years-old are currently being rolled out in the United States. But can very young children also get a Covid jab in Germany?

Reader question: Can under-5s get vaccinated against Covid in Germany?

At the moment, only children aged five and above can get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Germany.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the use of a reduced dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine for children between the ages of five and 12, and this age group are able to get vaccinated by doctors at practices or at dedicated vaccine centres.

Back in May, Germany’s Standing Vaccines Commission (STIKO) issued a general Covid jab recommendation for 5-12 year olds. Previously, they had only recommended the shots to children with pre-existing conditions or vulnerable contacts.

READ ALSO: Germany’s vaccine panel recommends Covid jabs for all children over five

Of course, some parents are keen to get their younger children vaccinated as well – and news from the US, where both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech has recently been approved for children under five, has given them hope that the same will happen in Germany.

So what exactly is going on?

Well, at the moment, there does seem to be some movement in that direction, but things are still up in the air. 

Back in April, Moderna announced that it had submitted a request to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for a variation to the conditional marketing authorisation.

In plain English, this means they want permission to roll out a 25mg dose of their vaccine (as part of a two-dose series) for children aged six months to five years. This is the same dosage that is being used to vaccinate toddlers and babies in the US. 

In response to a question from The Local, Pfizer/BioNTech said it was also planning to file for authorisation for the under-fives vaccine from the EMA in early July. 

Depending on the EMA’s decision, this could pave the way for very young children to get the Covid jab in Germany.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the authorities will be recommending that all parents rush out and vaccinate their young’uns. 

Speaking to the Funke Media Group back in March, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) struck a cautious tone when talking about vaccines for under fives.

“In the studies, the vaccines have not shown the immunisation effect in young children that we had hoped for. But it is precisely in this age group that the effect must be particularly clearly proven,” he said.

“It is therefore unclear at the moment whether there will be a vaccination recommendation for under-fives in Germany.”

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

For its part, the EMA said it was in talks with Pfizer ahead of the submission of its application for approval.

“To date, no application for an extension of indication for the use of Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) in children under five has been submitted to EMA,” a spokesperson for the EMA told The Local.

“However, EMA is in contact with the company about the possible submission of data and we will communicate on our website should we receive a request for an extension of indication.”

At the time of writing, the German Health Ministry and Robert Koch Institute (RKI) had not responded to a request for comment.