In Germany, persons who work at hospitals or care homes have been forced to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus since mid-March. But the Berlin Bundestag just voted against mandatory immunizations for certain age groups.
Sofia, Bulgaria, April 7th, 2022: Update: April 8th, 2022, 7:14 a.m. CEDT (The Berlin Spectator) — From the perspective of Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, this is a bad day. He reacted to the Bundestag’s vote against mandatory Corona vaccinations by saying that fighting the virus would be more difficult in fall. But political finger-pointing was not helpful. “We will carry on”, he twittered. What he meant to say was that the fight against the pandemic continues.
Proposal 1 Rejected
Lauterbach was among the proponents of a proposal that would have required persons from 60 years of age to get immunized against COVID-19. That way, he and other MPs who belong to the three parties involved in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ government coalition, the center-left SPD, the left-wing Greens and the center-right FDP, had wanted to increase the vaccination rate and save lives.
This proposal included an end to compulsory vaccinations the moment the vaccination rate would be high enough, and the option to extend it to more age groups in case in would not get to the level it was supposed to have. Only 296 MPs voted in favor and 378 against this proposal, while 9 abstained. Olaf Scholz had asked Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to leave a NATO meeting early and return to Berlin because he wanted her vote as well. I did not help.
Proposal 2 Rejected
Another proposal which was brought in by the conservative sister parties CDU and CSU was rejected as well. The ‘union parties’ wanted mandatory Corona vaccinations in three steps that would have depended on the Corona situation. The first one would have included everyone from 60 years of age, the second one from 50, and the third one persons who work in the critical infrastructure. Here, 172 MPs voted in favor and 492 against the proposal.
There were two proposals against mandatory vaccinations, one handed in by the FDP member and Vice President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Kubicki, and another one authored by the extremist right-wing AfD. Kubicki and some colleagues had said compulsory vaccination were a “disproportional interference in regard to people’s personal rights”. At the same time, this proposal called for campaigns that needed to be launched to increase the vaccination rate.
The AfD had argued against mandatory vaccinations and a retraction of the requirement for hospital employees to get immunized. In this case, 607 out of 686 MPS voted ‘No’, while 79 cast their vote for the proposal.
Now, it is unclear what will happen if a more dangerous Coronavirus variant spreads or if the Hospitalization Incidence increases substantially. Shortly after taking over from his predecessor Angela Merkel in December, Chancellor Olaf Scholz had announced the government would work on getting mandatory Corona vaccinations approved. But too many of the FDP’s MPs had doubts. Today, after all proposals were rejected, there is only one winner, namely the virus.
According to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, the subject of mandatory Corona vaccinations is not off the table. He also said it was a shame that partisan politics had played a role here. Mostly MPs for the SPD and the Greens had voted for compulsory immunizations.
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