Anti-vaxxers should forgo ventilators, German doctor says | News | DW | 19.12.2020
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Anti-vaxxers should forgo ventilators, German doctor says

A German geneticist has said those who turn down the new COVID-19 vaccine should carry a note also refusing intensive care treatment. He also said medical decisions should not be left to conspiracy theorists.

UK vaccine against COVID-19

Germany is set to begin its vaccination program before the end of the year

People who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine should not be able to access ventilators and other emergency measures if they become ill, a member of Germany's Ethics Council told the mass circulation Bild newspaper.

"Whoever wants to refuse the vaccination outright, he should, please also always carry a document with the inscription: 'I don't want to be vaccinated!'" Wolfram Henn, a human geneticist, told Bild on Saturday. "I want to leave the protection against the disease to others! I want, if I get sick, to leave my intensive care bed and ventilator to others."

Watch video 02:08

Comparing vaccines

'Leave it to the experts'

While Henn said critical questions in connection with vaccinations are understandable and justified, he recommended relying on the advice of "people who really know their stuff." Researchers worldwide, he said, have "stepped up the pace at a huge expense, but not at the expense of safety."

"Within months, there will also be coronavirus vaccines of the classic type, such as those that have been proven a billion times over for decades against influenza or hepatitis," he added.

Henn also slammed conspiracy theorists and coronavirus deniers, saying decisions should not be left to "lateral thinkers and vaccination opponents," referring to the Querdenker movement, the umbrella group for most of Germany's sometimes violent anti-shutdown demonstrations.

"I urgently recommend that these alarmists go to the nearest hospital and present their conspiracy theories to the doctors and nurses who have just come from the overcrowded intensive care unit completely exhausted," he said.

Watch video 04:37

Germany's culture scene and the pandemic

A growing anti-COVID measures movement

Germany has played host to a growing movement against coronavirus-related measures, with several large protests held in the capital, Berlin, and other cities. Last month, a protest in the eastern city of Leipzig drew over 20,000 participants.

Additional demonstrations are expected this weekend in Berlin and Stuttgart. 

Germany is currently under a strict lockdown that is set to last until at least January 10. The country is facing a spike in the number of cases, despite its successes at the start of the pandemic.

On Friday, Germany recorded 33,777 new cases, marking the first time that the country had a daily surge in excess of 30,000. Health officials have also reported more than 25,700 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

lc/dj (AFP, KNA, dpa)