Germany is currently being attacked by the fourth Covid Wave. Low vaccination rates in its eastern states are a major reason that the virus has regained foothold.
The four regions with the lowest vaccination rates — Saxony and Thuringia, Brandenburg and Saxony Anhalt — all belong to the formerly communist East. According to the data health ministry , no eastern German state has an inoculation rate that exceeds the national average of 67.5%.
According to Der Spiegel, Germany’s military will have up to 12,000 soldiers on standby in order to assist overburdened hospitals and accelerate the delivery of booster vaccines. At critical moments during the pandemic, as many as 10,000 soldiers had been deployed.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will be joined by Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrat who is aiming to succeed her in December. They will host a video conference on Thursday with state leaders to discuss the next steps.
Merkel stated, “There is a very clear connection between the vaccine rate and number of cases,” without naming the eastern regions.
She said, “That has serious implications,” and added that overstretched hospitals could result in patients being shifted around or operations for other conditions being cancelled.
Merkel stated that “We are facing some very difficult weeks” and added, “You can tell I am very concerned.” Merkel suggested that Germany’s leaders agree on a threshold for hospital capacities, which would trigger tighter regional restrictions.
East-West dissimilarity is a result of a history of alienation for Germans living in poorer countries that joined the Federal Republic in 90. Many people who grew up in communist regimes still feel resentful and have suspicions about central authority in Berlin.
These attitudes may be partly to blame for Germany’s poor performance in comparison with western European countries. Countries such as Spain and Portugal are far ahead of Germany when it comes to vaccines. In Eastern Europe, however, the rates of vaccination are much lower.
Merkel, who has called for tougher measures to contain the new wave of vaccinations, praised Antonio Costa, Portugal’s Prime Minister, during a visit outside Berlin this Week. He called his country’s vaccination rate “fantastic” and said that Portugal had reached 87%.
Merkel stated Saturday that “if enough people get immunized, that’s our way out of the pandemic,” and urged people to “join us and convince our relatives and friends.”
She said, “If we stand together and focus on ourselves and think about others, then it is possible to do much to help our country this winter.”
Germany is also facing a new epidemic due to its slow vaccination rate. Daily infection rates have risen to new records. They are higher than the previous winter, when most of the population was unable to resist Covid-19 and was waiting for the first vaccines.