Lauterbach was recently the “minister of hearts” at Illner – now the mood was cooler. Criticized: PCR tests, reduced convalescence status, compulsory vaccination.
Berlin – The sudden reduction in the recovered status to three months fell on his feet this week, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD)*. The decision was announced on the RKI’s side without prior notice from the ministry or consultation with the state governments.
“A great excitement,” says Maybrit Illner in her ZDF talk * and asks the Minister of Health: “Did you want to surprise someone?” Lauterbach shakes his head violently: “I’m not surprising anyone,” he says, that’s not ” his kind”. Lauterbach assures that he had “no influence” on the decision. The announcement was made “one, two, three days” too early – “a communication failure” – but in terms of content he was “completely” behind the decision.
“Maybrit Illner” – these guests discussed with:
- Professor Karl Lauterbach (SPD)* – Federal Minister of Health
- Linda Teuteberg (FDP) – member of parliament
- Thorsten Frei (CDU): First Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group
- Prof. Carsten Watzl – Head of the research area Immunology at the TU Dortmund
- Professor Frauke Rostalski – Member of the Ethics Council, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Cologne
The moderator looks incredulous and lashes out again, quoting the Hessian Prime Minister Volker Bouffier, who had declared that he felt “personally betrayed” and his CDU colleague, Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff, who found that Lauterbach had “instrumentalised science “. Lauterbach dismisses it: “I don’t have that anyway,” he explains, he has “simply confirmed the science” and cites the high contagion potential of the omicron variant as an argument, which can also affect people who have recovered from the delta variant.
Expert criticism of Lauterbach: treat the genesis and those who have been vaccinated twice in the same way
“There are voices,” Illner does not give up, who suspected that there was a tactic behind the campaign to “increase the vaccination rate”. Lauterbach shakes his head again: These are “speculations”, “fairy tales”. Now it’s immunologist Carsten Watzl’s turn. He questions the content of Lauterbach’s new regulation. “If you say that Omikron has changed the rules,” the expert concludes, then that must now also apply to those who have been vaccinated twice. After three months, they would be in a similarly poor position as those who had recovered in terms of an omicron infection risk.
But Watzl also questions a dangerous situation. There are currently “incredibly high incidences, but the hospitals are reasonably okay,” says Watzl. The virus is currently “raging” mainly among “five to 29-year-olds”, according to the expert, who have a “relatively low risk of severe courses”. In the 60-year-olds, the incidence is currently almost 300 and is therefore manageable. Watzl almost together: “The protection against the pure infection is not there, but the protection against a serious illness.”
Union parliamentary group manager Frei outraged: In the EU different rules than in Germany
Union parliamentary group manager Thorsten Frei (CDU) also criticizes the three-month limit, which does not apply in other European countries: “It can’t be that something else applies at European level than in Germany.” Frei plays on it the six-month convalescent status when traveling, which the Federal Foreign Office has also approved.
Watzl agrees and cites Switzerland and the USA as examples. The neighboring country had also reduced the recovered status, but from twelve to nine months*. According to Watzl, in the United States there is now no obligation to test after illness, the only decisive factor there is the freedom from symptoms.
Lauterbach has nothing to say against this argument: “There’s a lot of party politics involved here,” he railed succinctly. Moderator Illner picks up on the immunologist’s cue and puts the next accusation on the table: a lack of PCR capacity. In Vienna alone, more are tested and evaluated in one week than in Germany as a whole.
Despite previous criticism, Lauterbach advocates more rapid tests
The minister immediately has an explanation ready: A different test strategy is used in Austria, the pooling procedure, in which several tests are first examined together for the corona virus and individual samples are only taken if the result is positive. He himself proposed this procedure together with scientists in 2020, but the decision was made in favor of antigen tests. Lauterbach nevertheless breaks a lance for the so-called “rapid tests” that could “highly likely” detect “highly infectious people”.
The FDP MP Linda Teuteberg, who supports the group motion against general vaccination in the Bundestag, is in favor of more tests instead of compulsory vaccination. She emphasizes: From a legal point of view, “comprehensible reasons” are needed for the introduction of compulsory vaccination. As a “means of education”, “to send a signal” or to “make it easier” for politicians, it is not constitutional. Lawyer Frauke Rostalski also makes it clear that when it comes to compulsory vaccination, protection against serious illness is legally something completely different than protection against illness itself.
Lauterbach remains calm and announces that he is in favor of compulsory vaccination from the age of 18. Compromises are not required now: “I don’t have to think about a compromise if there can still be a good solution.” However, he is sticking to his decision not to submit his own application in his role as Minister of Health. Lauterbach calls the criticism of the lack of a vaccination register a “killer argument” and refers to France, where vaccination is quasi-obligatory even without a register.
Lauterbach is hoping for success with the new vaccine Novavax, of which 2.4 million doses are to be delivered to the federal government at the end of February and then passed on directly to the federal states. The minister is certain: “With the Novavax vaccine we will still tear something.” He then sends a message to opponents of vaccination: “They pretend that it is the nurses who are afraid for their bodies and so on.” That is wrong.
Conclusion of the “Maybrit Illner” talk
While her talk show colleagues are slowly devoting themselves to topics other than Corona, Illner remains true to the trend and so it was probably no coincidence that Minister Karl Lauterbach was involved. On Twitter he still got the full broadside. The comments overturned, especially under the Lauterbach quote from the show: “It must be my job to protect the population as well as possible.” (Verena Schulemann) *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.