After his proposed vaccination mandate faced a crushing defeat in the German parliament on Thursday, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is now calling for a strengthened vaccination campaign to target those who have not yet had the jab – including migrants and other underrepresented groups.
As of Friday morning, 76.0 percent of the total population of Germany had been vaccinated and 58.9 percent had been given a third “booster” jab.
“Once again, we need to target a really effective vaccination campaign at those who have not yet been vaccinated but are willing in principle,” Lauterbach said. He added that one such group was Germany’s immigrant population, which remains underrepresented in vaccination coverage.
“They have to be reached; we can’t give up,” Lauterbach said. “We also have to advertise more creatively. We’re preparing something there right now.”
The SPD politician told Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday that he expects the pandemic to worsen in the autumn and is calling for an amendment to the Infection Protection Act by then.
Following the failure of the vaccine mandate, other medical experts have also raised their concerns about a worsening of the pandemic again in the autumn – even to the point of new lockdowns.
“The fact is that we have to expect rising infection figures again in the autumn,” Gerald Gaß, CEO of the German Hospital Association (DKG), told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. “Politicians must prepare for this today in order to avoid overloading the healthcare system.”
Karl Lauterbach also said he no longer sees the possibility for further relaxations of Covid measures.
Currently, the vast majority of Covid measures have been dispensed with in Germany, though people are still expected to wear masks on public transport and in hospitals and care homes.
“We have now made the relaxations that can be made, but there we have reached the end of the line,” he said. “If we had gotten the vaccination requirement right, the scope for relaxations in the autumn would have been much greater. Now the way I see it is that in the autumn, the Infection Protection Act will probably have to be adjusted again at an early stage.”
The Federal Health Minister plans to discuss the current infection situation and developments in the Covid pandemic in a joint press conference with RKI chief Lothar Wieler on Friday.