KKeep urs – that is the motto that the federal and state governments issued on Monday evening after their consultations on the corona pandemic. The strict contact restrictions and the vaccination campaign showed “that the direction we have taken is right,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) after the video conference. As a result, the high number of infections in Germany occurred much later than predicted. The federal and state governments continue to focus on strengthening the vaccination campaign. Unfortunately, the pace of the booster vaccinations – the “boosters” – has slowed down, said Scholz. That is why the federal government wants to use posters, advertisements and radio spots to advertise both initial vaccinations and boosters. “Vaccinations help. Vaccinations protect against serious illnesses,” says the decision of the Prime Ministers’ Conference (MPK) with the Chancellor.
Scholz said it was not yet known whether further measures would be necessary in view of the highly contagious omicron variant. The resolution complains that there is a “too large vaccination gap” among people over the age of 50. Compared to other countries, the proportion of unvaccinated people in this age group in Germany is “still very high”.
In the Chancellery, it is pointed out that the debate about compulsory vaccination has already resulted in a change of opinion among the population in favor of compulsory vaccination – in recent surveys, more than 60 percent have spoken out in favor of it. Another argument in favor of duty is that most citizens would obey the law even if they didn’t agree with it. In the SPD it can sometimes be heard that compulsory vaccination for citizens from the age of 50 would be progress if there were no majority for compulsory vaccination for all adults.
Reference is made to the example of Italy. Prime Minister Mario Draghi wanted to make vaccination compulsory for all adults there, but at the beginning of January parliament decided that it would only apply to citizens over 50. The reason for this was that this age group in particular puts a strain on the hospitals. It is very likely that this also applies to Germany, as the Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council points out. The omicron variant, which is now predominant, is not considered a way out of the pandemic in the federal government because it is considered unlikely that unvaccinated people will have adequate protection against further infection after infection and recovery.
The MPK chairman, North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU), said that if the health system and critical infrastructure were overloaded, further measures would be decided. But if that can be ruled out, then one will also talk about opening perspectives. The prime ministers want to meet with the federal government for further consultations by February 16 at the latest.
PCR tests should be prioritized
The MPK members want to change the way they deal with PCR tests. They are not available in sufficient numbers, and there are bottlenecks in many places. Therefore, PCR tests should be carried out with priority. Vulnerable groups and the staff who look after them, for example in hospitals or care facilities, should be given preference. Deputy MPK Chairwoman, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD), said every effort must be made to ensure that more PCR tests are available.
On Wednesday, the Bundestag will discuss compulsory vaccination in an “orientation debate”. The Union faction criticizes the fact that the federal government has not submitted its own draft law on compulsory vaccination. The various proposals from the ranks of the traffic light coalition had caused a “mess”, said Andrea Lindholz (CSU), deputy chairwoman of the Union faction. It is the government’s job to make a proposal on this difficult issue. According to Lindholz, the Union faction has not yet decided on its positioning, but this should happen in the course of the week.