Monday, September 26

ROUNDUP: Compulsory vaccination debate and anxious look at Omikron

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – According to top politicians from various parties, Germany is unlikely to be able to avoid a general corona vaccination obligation. SPD boss Lars Klingbeil told the editorial network Germany (Thursday) that if the vaccination rate from the current 70 percent in Germany would suddenly rise to 95 percent, an obligation would not be necessary. “I don’t see that at the moment.” The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wst (CDU) called a compulsory vaccination in the ARD-Tagesthemen “indispensable”. Berlin’s governing mayor, Franziska Giffey, described it as a “logical conclusion” on RTL / ntv.

The corona numbers in Germany are initially falling further. However, because of the more contagious Omicron variant, experts fear an imminent trend reversal. In addition, little meaningful corona data is expected over the upcoming holidays.

Klingbeil described it as a mistake to have ruled out compulsory vaccination first. “I personally did that too.” He believed that many more people would be vaccinated than has actually been the case to date. “That’s why I have always said with great conviction that there will be no compulsory vaccination. That was a mistake. But I think it’s important that politics can learn something new.”

NRW Prime Minister Wst said that a “permanent loop” of loosening and lockdowns would have to be avoided. “We have to get out of there. That is why compulsory vaccination is essential.” Giffey called mandatory vaccination the “very last resort”. But from the point at which the entire health protection of the population as well as the critical infrastructure are at risk, one must also enter into this obligation in the weighing up. “So it is now a logical conclusion to do that.”

On Wednesday, the Ethics Council spoke out in favor of extending the mandatory vaccination, which had already been decided on for employees in clinics or nursing homes, to “significant parts of the population”. It is envisaged that the Bundestag will vote on a possible introduction without being forced into a parliamentary group. When that will happen is still open. The design is also unclear: it would be conceivable, for example, that there would be an obligation for all adults or only for certain risk and age groups. It is expected that parliamentarians across party lines will come together and present so-called group motions, which will then be voted on.

Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) told the newspapers of the Funke media group on the question of how such an application would have to be designed in order for them to agree. He must be proportionate. “It must be clear, for example, whether we can fight the crisis with this form of mandatory vaccination. My personal tendency is towards partial mandatory vaccination.”

The nationwide seven-day incidence was given by the Robert Koch Institute on Thursday as 280.3, after 289 the previous day. The health ministers reported 44,927 new infections. Exactly one week ago it was 56,677. The number has been going down for around three weeks. When assessing the situation, Germany is now threatened with uncertainty well into the new year. The head of the medical officer association, Ute Teichert, assumes that the officially reported corona numbers could be under-recorded over the holidays and between the years. “The figures should not be reliable until the beginning of January.”

At the same time, the feared Omikron wave should build up: “We don’t have a big, fast wave yet. That will change at the turn of the year and in the first week of January,” said Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Thursday at WDR 2. In the UK, the daily numbers have now passed the 100,000 mark. According to experts, the Omikron variant is transmitted much faster than previous variants of the coronavirus.

Studies from South Africa and Great Britain now suggest that Omikron could cause less illness than the delta variant of the coronavirus. However, experts advise against drawing hasty conclusions and point to differences between South Africa and Germany, for example in terms of the average age of the population. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, told the news channel Welt on Thursday that if the British figures could be confirmed, that would be a glimmer of hope but “no all-clear at all”.

Even with a milder course, the expected high number of infections will cause stress on the health system and important areas of the infrastructure, because many employees could be absent due to an infection and quarantine orders./jr/vf/ggr/ca/bg/hme/wpe/ulb/ DP / nas