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Trust in Germany's vaccination campaign shrinks

April 5, 2021

More and more people are losing hope in the German government’s inoculation campaign. But family doctors are ready to help, and the health minister has said the vaccination pace will pick up.

A health care provider prepares a syringe with a coronavirus vaccine
Around two-thirds of German residents doubt the government will be able to meet its vaccination goal, a new poll showsImage: Andreas Gebert/REUTERS

Nearly two-thirds of people in Germany doubt that the government will be able to follow through on its vaccine campaign goals, according to a new survey published Monday.

Frustration over the sluggish rollout of coronavirus vaccines has been growing as Germany battles a third wave of infections.

What did the survey find?

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has promised to offer the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine to all adults who want one by September 21. 

A YouGov poll commissioned by the news agency dpa, however, has found that many Germans are skeptical.

Only 23% of respondents said they believed that the government would meet its goal; 62% thought it was unlikely, the survey foundd.

In February, 26% of people said the target could be met.

A German family in lockdown

Doubts about the government's timeline were strong among supporters of Merkel's own conservative bloc.

Fifty-three percent of Christian Democrat or Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) voters said they didn't believe that the government would hit its September target, according to Monday's survey.

Health minister vows vaccine boost in April

Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday that he expects 20% of the population to be vaccinated by the end of April.

Germany needed three months to vaccinate the first 10% of the population, but the pace would pick up, Spahn said during a visit to a Berlin vaccination center.

"We will manage the next 10% in a month in light of the expected deliveries [of vaccines]," he said.

The campaign is also set to get a boost later this week when thousands of general practitioners will start giving vaccines in their offices.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn
Health Minister Spahn said 20% of adults should get the first dose by the end of AprilImage: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

Later, medical specialists, private physicians and company doctors are supposed to help speed up the efforts.

Spahn also warned that "vaccination does not prevent the third wave," and said contact restrictions would be necessary.

Are uniform coronavirus rules the solution?

Restrictions currently vary across Germany's 16 states, creating an array of rules that can make it difficult for people to know what is allowed in their regions.

Over the weekend, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer proposed uniform nationwide restrictions, but his suggestion for a new law that would enshrine the rules has met with mixed reactions.

Gerd Landsberg, the head of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, said a federal law would take too long to be implemented.

"Furthermore, federalism has proven itself in the pandemic. Different rules in different regions are justified whenever incidence rates permit this," Landsberg told the Funke Media Group.

The business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) welcomed Seehofer's push for a federal law.

Stephan Thomae, the deputy chairman of the FDP's parliamentary group, complained that it has taken the conservatives a long time to see the need for uniform legislation.

"But better late than never," he told dpa.

mna/mm (dpa, Reuters)