Debate on compulsory vaccinations

Due to the country’s comparatively low vaccination rate and the rising number of cases, the question of whether to make vaccinations compulsory in Germany is increasingly coming to the fore.

Debatte über allgemeine Impfpflicht

Berlin (dpa) - In view of the dramatic coronavirus situation, the debate on whether to make vaccinations compulsory is gaining momentum. This is something we have to start thinking about, urged SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach. "I would definitely no longer rule it out and would say that although it wouldn’t help us acutely now, we need to approach the idea of compulsory vaccinations." Recently, several CDU/CSU representatives had also shown themselves open to compulsory vaccination, including Schleswig-Holstein and Bavarian premiers Daniel Günther (CDU) and Markus Söder (CSU).

After the Professional Association of Paediatricians had already done so, Heinz Hilgers, president of Germany’s child protection agency, also spoke out in favour of compulsory vaccinations for adults – if the vaccination rate does not increase decisively by spring. "Personally, I am in favour of discussing compulsory vaccinations for adults and then deciding on the matter in the spring if the vaccination rate remains so low," Hilgers said. "This would also protect children."

The president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, said that he was in two minds. Compulsory vaccination is "one approach, and I'm with the (World Health Organization) WHO on this in the sense that it is something none of us want," he said on. "Nobody really wants to have compulsory vaccinations. (...) But when you have tried everything else, then it’s as the WHO says: you also have to consider making vaccinations compulsory."

The background to the debate is that experts believe the vaccination rate in Germany is too low. Recently, however, the vaccination rate has increased again, with particular demand for booster jabs. The infection situation has worsened dramatically in recent weeks, with new highs in the seven-day incidence being reached every day.

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