German states mull making vaccination mandatory

by IANS |

Berlin, Nov 24 (IANS) Some German federal states have expressed support for mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as the country is witnessing a record surge in cases amid an ongoing fourth wave of the pandemic.

"We simply cannot get around the fact that if we want to get out of this mess, people have to get vaccinated," Minister-President of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, told the broadcaster ARD.

In an article for the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Kretschmann wrote with Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soeder that compulsory vaccination was not a violation of freedom rights but a "prerequisite for regaining our freedom", reports Xinhua news agency

After daily infections exceeded 65,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic last week, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases registered 45,326 Covid cases in the last 24 hours, around 13,000 more than last week.

Support for mandatory vaccination also came from Schleswig-Holstein, a state in northern Germany.

Due to the "dramatic development" of the pandemic and the situation of hospitals, the introduction of a general vaccination obligation was the "right way to go", the state's Deputy Minister-President Monika Heinold told German news agency dpa on Tuesday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care increased by around 140 and climbed to almost 4,000, according to the online registry of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI).

Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously ruled out a general vaccination obligation while acting Minister of Health Jens Spahn continued to reject compulsory vaccination.

"It would not solve our acute problem, and the effect would come too late," Spahn told public radio Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday.

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