The omicron variant has sent the number of coronavirus infected skyrocketing across Germany. The new government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, stated that vaccinations will remain the cornerstone to the fight against COVID-19.

Germany is far behind its neighboring countries: Only 72.7% have had two jabs and 47% have had boosters.
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17 million people remain unvaccinated.

Although Scholz promised “strong leadership” in crafting pandemic policies, the opposition points out that the lack of leadership is what has prevented compulsory vaccination from being introduced.

The governing coalition consisting of Scholz’s center left Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party, and the Neoliberal Free Democratss (FDP) created a law in December that required all staff working in hospitals, elderly homes, and psychiatric clinics to be fully immunized by March 15.

The measure passed without opposition, except from the extreme-right Alternative for Germany and some center-right Christian Democrats who felt the new government was acting too quickly.

The debate now turns to whether Germany should have a universal mandate for vaccines for all residents as Austria did, or only for those over 65 and with certain medical conditions like in Italy.

After opposing mandatory vaccinations on the campaign trail Scholz now supports the idea of a universal mandate .

He stated that he believes there is a high vaccine rate in the country, but not enough to combat omicron.

However, none of the governing parties have presented any plan for such an initiative. This includes Karl Lauterbach (SPD), Health Minister and Epidemiologist who has advocated three jabs for everyone who is eligible.

A draft was presented by the AfD to ban additional vaccine mandates. It will be discussed in the Bundestag at the end January. They argue that a mandate for vaccines would result in the unvaccinated “losing constitutional rights…
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by being excluded socially, culturally, professional, athletic, and international life.”

A group of 22 FDP legislators, headed by Wolfgang Kubicki the party vice chair, has also proposed to block widespread vaccine mandates. Kubicki stated that if vaccines were able to create total immunity (e.g., against measles), then we could have a different conversation.

Experts cautioned, however, that COVID-19 vaccines shouldn’t be compared with childhood jabs which offer lifetime immunity and prevents the spread of these viruses. COVID is a different vaccine. COVID is different. It mutates like the seasonal flu and so one shot will not be enough to protect you for your entire life.

Kubicki suggested that people over 60 might need to be vaccinated against COVID every four months to maintain their protection.