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Germany uses both a root and a stick to encourage more people to get Covid-19 vaccinations after the immunization campaign behind other European countries, which raises fears of a ‘fourth wave’ of infections .
The government launched a ‘vaccination week’ on Monday to offer free jabs to people without appointments at more than 700 public places, including a zoo in Rostock, an ice hockey stadium in Cologne and an airport in Berlin.
“There are still those who actually have nothing against the vaccination, who may have even had an appointment, they missed it and they simply did not make a new one,” said Jens Spahn, the German health minister. , said in a radio interview.
While urging people to take the opportunity to get a jab at a nearby location, Spahn suggested that the government could also make life more difficult for people who have not been vaccinated.
Germany’s vaccination rate has stagnated in recent weeks with nearly 62 percent of the population fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
It is slightly ahead of the EU average, but below the UK, France and Italy. In some countries, more than 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, including Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Denmark.
Several regions, including North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, have said they will stop compensating non-vaccinated workers for lost income when they have to go into quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus or returning from a high-risk area.
This change is expected to be implemented nationally by the government, which plans to charge for all Covid-19 tests from next month.
Some regional governments, such as Hamburg, are also stepping up the pressure on people to get confused by restricting access to public spaces inside to those who have been vaccinated or recovered from the virus – excluding those with a recent negative test.
“We need to motivate people to be vaccinated,” said Gernot Marx, chairman of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, after the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care rose from 350 at the beginning of August to 1500 weeks. .
“If we get 75% of people fully vaccinated, it will make a big difference,” says Marx, adding that more than half of German Covid-19 patients in intensive care were under 60 years of age. “We are concerned about the recent increase in patients, and if it continues to increase, it will be very difficult by winter. ”
The debate over how to speed up vaccinations spilled over into the German election campaign on Sunday when Green Chancellor Annalena Baerbock said she supported compulsory work for certain professions, such as medical workers – a step recently taken in France was taken.
But Armin Laschet, the candidate of the center-right CDU / CSU, said he was against such a move and trusted people to decide for themselves.
A recent survey by the research institute Infas found that only 10 percent of vaccinated Germans were opposed to getting the stump in principle.
The government said last week that it is aiming to deliver another 5 million vaccinations this year to increase the proportion of people over 60 who have been fully vaccinated to 90 percent and the ratio between 12 and 59 years to 75 percent. increase.
“It has never been so easy to get vaccinated,” said Berlin Health Minister Dilek Kalayci to present a gift voucher for a free donor kebab to people who touch the jaw. “Autumn is upon us, we are in the fourth wave and we have vaccination rates that are actually insufficient to avoid the worst,” she told RTL.