MUNICH / BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) has brought up mandatory corona vaccination for certain professional groups and has received broad criticism for it. In the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”, Söder complained that there were too many people who refused to be vaccinated among the workers in old people’s and nursing homes. At the same time, Bavaria is relying on a stricter mask requirement. The state cabinet decided on Tuesday in Munich that an FFP2 mask must be worn in shops and in local public transport from next week. Other federal states initially did not want to join this regulation either.
Meanwhile, the distribution of the Moderna vaccine to the federal states began on Tuesday. Two million doses of the product are expected in Germany by the end of the quarter. In addition, the Swedish-British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca applied to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for approval of its corona vaccine. According to the EU Commission, it could be approved at the end of January and would be the third vaccine used in the EU after the active ingredients from Biontech (BioNTech (ADRs)) / Pfizer and Moderna.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) warned urgently of the modified variant of the corona virus that appeared in Great Britain. You could “take the lead over the old virus” in a very short time, then you would be back in the middle of the exponential growth in the number of infections, said Merkel in the Union parliamentary group meeting, according to several participants. “That is why the greatest possible caution is required.”
Another virus mutant from South Africa was also detected in Germany for the first time. The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs announced that a sick person from the Zollernalb district was affected.
So far, politicians have strictly ruled out a requirement for corona vaccination. Söder said, however, that if you hear and read that few nurses wanted to be vaccinated, the ethics council should at least discuss such a procedure: “If the willingness to vaccinate should improve dramatically, it is certainly not necessary,” admitted the CSU boss . “But if it stays that way for the next few months, then that is simply the area that has the greatest vulnerability and is the greatest challenge.”
Top politicians from the CDU and SPD, however, turned just as resolutely against Söder’s initiative as the opposition, patient advocates and unions. “The vaccination must be voluntary,” emphasized Verdi boss Frank Werneke. “The debate about compulsory vaccination is counterproductive for the social acceptance of vaccination measures.”
Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said on RTL and ntv: “At the moment speculating about mandatory vaccinations is forbidden.” Even Friedrich Merz, candidate for the CDU chairmanship, is “no friend of compulsory vaccinations” in his own words. A “clear recommendation” would make sense, said Merz to the editorial network Germany (RND). Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) added that they had spoken out against compulsory vaccination during the entire pandemic. “We’re not going to change that in the middle of it all.”
Support for Söder came only from the chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank-Ulrich Montgomery. “A job-specific vaccination against Corona makes sense for nurses and medical staff,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Anyone who deals with vulnerable groups must be immunized” – by having survived Covid 19 disease or by vaccination.
Söder announced that in Bavaria from next week there will be an obligation to wear FFP2 masks in local transport and retail. The “normal community masks” were used to protect others in the corona pandemic, said Söder. FFP2 masks also protected the wearers themselves. Their “availability in retail is sufficiently guaranteed”.
The chairman of the Union parliamentary group, Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU), welcomed the Bavarian regulation. The mutation of the virus worries him very much. Saxony’s Minister of Health, Petra Köpping (SPD), wants to at least think about an FFP mask requirement.
Other state governments were much more cautious. A government spokesman in Brandenburg said that such a regulation was “not planned” at the moment. Saarland’s Minister of Health Monika Bachmann (CDU) said: “I won’t jump on my horse straight away if Mr Söder says so.” One will, however, “discuss it with certainty, because he certainly had something in mind with his people in the cabinet”.
Meanwhile, the federal government introduced the law to double the number of childhood illness days for parents. The extra days should not only be able to be used in closed schools and daycare centers, but also if only compulsory attendance is suspended or access to the daycare center has been restricted. According to a formulation aid for the draft law available to the German Press Agency, this also applies if parents were only asked not to bring their children to daycare.
On Tuesday, the health authorities reported 12 802 new corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. In addition, 891 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours./ax/ctt/dm/csd/jr/si/bvi/vsr/cs/DP/fba