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Germany: No convincing the unvaccinated

October 29, 2021

Overwhelmed hospitals, or the possibility to visit restaurants and cinemas don't seem to have convinced unvaccinated people in Germany to change their minds.

Anti-vaccine protestors
Even before the pandemic, Germany had the second-largest anti-vaxx movement in the world after the United States.Image: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/picture alliance

How can the unvaccinated Germans be convinced?

In most German cities, you have to be vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 recently in order to enjoy indoor activities like eating at a restaurant or going to the cinema.

However, a majority of unvaccinated adults still seemingly wish to remain so, according to a new survey.

What did the study on vaccinations in Germany reveal?

A poll carried out by the research firm Forsa on behalf of the German Health Ministry found that:

  • 65% of the unvaccinated have no plans to get their COVID-19 jab in the next two months;
  • A further 23% would "probably not" do so;
  • Just 2% said they planned to get a vaccine but hadn't been able to yet.

Forsa also found that Germany's increasingly overwhelmed hospitals were of little concern to the unvaccinated, despite the fact that they represent the majority of patients in intensive care units.

Some 89% of respondents said recent news that German hospitals were reaching numbers of patients not seen since the height of the pandemic in January 2021 would not have any effect on their decision-making.

The same number of people accused the media of "one-sided" reporting about the pandemic.

SPD, FDP, Greens unveil COVID response

What are the reasons for refusing vaccination?

Some of the reasons included the feeling that they were being coerced into doing so or a perceived lack of clarity over whether vaccines are safe for people who are pregnant or trying to conceive.

The biggest concern amongst the unvaccinated, at 34%, was what they called the lack of "long-term" studies into possible side effects. 

Hundreds of millions of doses safely administered throughout the world in the last 18 months. Yet Germany still has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, according to a new study by University of Oxford researchers.

Figures from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases show 66.5% of Germans are fully vaccinated, compared to Portugal's 88% or Spain's 81%.

Elizabeth Schumacher
Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.