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Germany's Scholz eyes COVID vaccine mandate

Louis Oelofse
January 23, 2022

Warning people not to be "naive" enough to believe the coronavirus will "miraculously" disappear, the German chancellor outlined plans for a vaccine mandate in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives for a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin
Scholz says Germany's coronavirus restrictions can't be lifted in the middle of the omicron waveImage: Michael Soh/AP Photo/picture alliance

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview published Sunday that it's "naive" to think the coronavirus would disappear soon. He told the Süddeutsche Zeitung it is vital to increase Germany's vaccination rate.

"We must not be naive. It is an illusion to believe that the pandemic will just miraculously be gone forever in three months' time," he said.

"Yes, the situation will hopefully improve and relax in the spring and summer. But next fall is sure to come."

Over 75% of the German population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, but Scholz wants to get to 90%.

"I'm convinced now that without compulsory vaccination, we won't be able to get the vaccination rates up to the level needed to get us out of the pandemic," he said.

His remarks came a day before a scheduled meeting with Germany's 16 state leaders to discuss coronavirus measures.

Scholz supports COVID vaccine mandate

Scholz also told Süddeutsche Zeitung that it would not help to "ease rules on a large scale in the middle of the omicron wave."

The build-up to implement mandatory vaccinations

On Wednesday, Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, will debate the introduction of compulsory vaccinations.

Scholz's coalition government — comprised of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the environmentalist Green Party and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) — have the majority in parliament, but lawmakers will be free to vote as they see fit.

A YouGov survey commissioned by the German dpa agency suggests that 60% of Germans still support the introduction of compulsory vaccination, down from 63% in December. Meanwhile, 32% said they were against it, up from 30%.

Germany reported 85,440 new infections on Sunday, with the 7-day incidence rate hitting 806.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for the first time.

Edited by: Farah Bahgat

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