The German Bundestag will open debate today on whether to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the adult population.
Over 75% of the German population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, but the country still has the largest proportion of unvaccinated people among populous Western European states and case numbers are high. Germany’s health minister has predicted that numbers will peak sometime in February.
Members from several parliamentary groups plan to present a draft law that would require people 18 and older to be vaccinated. The draft bills will first be discussed in mid-February, though a decision won’t come until at least March.
A recent survey suggests that 60% of Germans support a vaccine mandate, but the mere prospect has stirred nationwide protests.
Despite intense pushback, state and federal leaders plan to maintain Germany’s current course of action rather than modify its strict rules. Expect Chancellor Olaf Scholz to focus instead on mitigating the shortage of PCR tests, prioritizing vulnerable groups for contact tracing and embarking on new public awareness campaigns for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. While these measures will likely reduce case numbers, frustrations are high for unvaccinated adults, as they remain barred from many public places.
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Madeline McQuillan is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a contributor to the Daily Brief. Her expertise is in European politics and transatlantic relations. She holds a Master of Science in European and International Public Policy from the London School of Economics.