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Germany Eyeing Vaccination Mandate: What Is It?

German legislators are expected to consider drafting a measure legalizing the COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Politicians and commons Germans are opposed to the proposal.

Why is Germany attempting to impose a vaccination mandate?

The administration is concerned that an increase in COVID-19 infections in Germany, as well as the possibility of new variants, would put a strain on the health-care system next autumn or winter. By that time, it hopes to have greatly increased immunization rates.

In Germany, approximately 75% of the population has received at least one vaccine against the virus, which is lower than other western European countries such as Spain, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, which have received 86 percent, 80 percent, 83 percent, and 77 percent of the population, respectively.

Germany Eyeing Vaccination Mandate: What Is It?: Testing facility in Germany
Testing facility in Germany

When and how will Germany implement such a mandate?

The government wants to give legislators the freedom to propose a vaccination mandate. This parliamentary procedure said Chancellor Olaf Scholz, “gives the process the grandeur it needs.”

The matter will be debated in Germany’s lower chamber of parliament on Wednesday. Following the discussion, the bill’s details will be finalized, and a draft legislation should be available for a vote in parliament by March.

However, it’s unclear if a subsequent law will be able to gain enough support to succeed. Some members of Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) junior coalition partners, the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats, are opposed to the bill.

At what age would the requirement be introduced?

Scholz wants everyone above the age of 18 to be subject to the mandate. Austria has a vaccination mandate at the same age as the United States.

Others recommended that the mandate be imposed on those over the age of 50 since they are at a higher risk of acquiring life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms. In Italy, a similar action was done.

How many dosages would be required by the mandate? How long would the law be in effect?

The bill might require three doses of vaccine and will have a time restriction imposed by experts, said Dirk Wiese, a legislator engaged in introducing the initiative.

“It certainly will not be for just a few months, but rather one to two years,” Wiese told reporters.

What happens if folks don’t receive their shots?

According to Wiese, refusing immunization carries a financial penalty proportional to one’s income.

What are the major roadblocks to a vaccination mandate?

The measure might face legal challenges because some believe it violates the second article of the constitution, which protects citizens’ freedom to self-determination over their own bodies.

“The state is violating that right to physical integrity when it says ‘I dictate that you must take this drug’,” said Steffen Rabe, the chairman of “Doctors for Individual Vaccination Decisions” association which opposes the vaccine mandate.

Another roadblock might be the lack of a national vaccination register, which limits the government’s capacity to track who is and isn’t vaccinated.

According to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, establishing a vaccination register takes time and is problematic due to Germany’s rigorous privacy and data protection regulations.

Germany Eyeing Vaccination Mandate: What Is It?: German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach

What do Germans think about mandatory vaccinations? Which political parties support it and which oppose it?

According to a YouGov poll released on Sunday, over 60% of Germans support a vaccination mandate.

More than 70% of Germans connected with the Greens, Social Democrats, and conservatives support a vaccination mandate, according to a ZDF poll conducted earlier this month.

According to the ZDF poll, just 52 percent of FDP voters and Die Linke supporters support a vaccine mandate. Only 10% of those who support the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) believe that vaccination mandate is a good idea.

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