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German support grows for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines as cases jump

German support grows for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines as cases jump

Police officers walk along a shopping street in Dresden, Germany, on Nov 23, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Matthias Rietschel)

BERLIN: A leader of Germany's Greens, set to be part of a new government, expressed support on Wednesday (Nov 24) for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as the number of infections jumped again.

Germany registered 66,884 new coronavirus infections and 335 more deaths related to the virus, bringing the total number of deaths close to 100,000, according to figures by the Robert Koch Institute of infectious diseases on Wednesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is preparing to hand over power to a new government of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats, called in the leaders of these parties on Tuesday to discuss the pandemic.

Katrin Goering-Eckardt, the parliamentary leader of the Greens, said that continual lockdowns and restrictions on social contact were a bigger imposition than demanding vaccination.

"This is a proposal not for right now," she told radio station Deutschlandfunk.

Initially, it would be about mandatory vaccinations for example in care facilities to protect particularly sensitive groups. Introducing a compulsory vaccination would not mean that this would be enforced by police, she added.

Germans have been waiting in line for hours to get vaccinated in recent days, with about 68 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, below the average in Western Europe.

Meanwhile, Germany's Ethics Council indicated that it could reconsider its rejection of compulsory vaccination.

"We are really thinking about it, because we see that the numbers are rising and we have this very acute crisis situation," the deputy chairperson of the Ethics Council, Susanne Schreiber, told RTL television.

Neighbouring Austria has reimposed a full lockdown due to surging caseloads and has said it will introduce compulsory vaccination next year.

Source: Reuters/kg

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