1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Get vaccinated — and do it now

Oliver Pieper | Analysis & Reports
Oliver Pieper
November 17, 2021

Germany is headed right into the fourth COVID-19 wave because, in particular, many Germans still don't want to be vaccinated. DW's Oliver Pieper is fed up.

A person fills a syringe with the BioNtTech-Pfizer vaccine
The number of non-vaccinated people with COVID in Germany is rapidly rising Image: AFP

It was my youngest daughter's birthday the other day. Before the pandemic, that was always a joyful occasion, but now it's become a little complicated. One guest she invited to her teenagers' birthday party wasn't vaccinated yet.

As a dad, that leaves you with the choice of looking like a petty and overprotective square — or a guy who trivializes the coronavirus. I opted for the former. Was a self-test going to suffice? I insisted on a PCR test.

Just before the party was about to get started, my daughter told me her unvaccinated friend was on her way, but had forgotten to bring the test result. Did she even take the test, I immediately wondered. Then her parents should please send me the test result via WhatsApp. They actually did.

I felt a bit like an East German Stasi state security officer or a block warden, but I was reasonably satisfied that I had successfully warded off the virus at the front door.

My patience has worn thin

If you have several kids, God outfits you with genes of patience — and they last a lifetime. In the end, the offspring can actually get away with almost anything. During this birthday, however, I realized that my patience with people who are against getting the vaccine is rapidly approaching zero. Enough is enough.

Germany is caught up in the fourth wave of the pandemic; it's part IV of a movie that is even more depressing than its predecessors because, in my eyes, it shouldn't have been made at all. And it's all thanks to those who oppose the vaccine.

In the classic film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray starts out as a jackass but manages to get out of the time loop by turning into a good guy. I am afraid that when this coronavirus time loop is over (if it ever ends), I might be a worse person. After watching TV talk shows with people skeptical of the vaccine, I find myself surfing Twitter for hours, trying to find the tweet that takes the most cynical and sarcastic jab at these idiots.

Oliver Pieper
DW's Oliver Pieper

I have realized in recent months that you don't have to be a scientist or even a virologist to be able to talk about the virus in a more or less meaningful way in front of an audience of millions. It is enough to be an actor, because they, too, say such clever things in films.

The only difference is that they have learned their lines by heart and, for the most part, didn't come up with the sentences. So it's not always obvious that they themselves are perhaps not the sharpest knives in the drawer. 

The same text over and over

Do you have to deal with people who are against the vaccine in your family or circle of friends? Fortunately, I don't. Except for a friend from Argentina who recently sent me a video about the supposedly devilish vaccine. I don't know what he expected, maybe he thought I would say: "Gee, you're right, finally someone got it, why didn't I figure that out long ago?"

Instead, I wrote him asking whether he had joined the idiots' team, and told him I appreciated him very much, but that in order to remain friends, we should avoid the topic of COVID-19 and vaccinations in the future. By the way, he got himself a vaccination certificate in Patagonia so he wouldn't suffer any social disadvantages. So much for being principled.

A few days ago, I was asked to write a text about why we Germans of all people — supposedly organization world champions — just can't get a grip on the virus. It occurred to me that I had already written more or less the same text in the spring, when Germany was overwhelmed by the third wave. And I'll definitely have to write it again next spring.

If Germany continues to battle the virus in the same manner, we'll be heading into injury time, overtime and a penalty shootout.

Tenacious cliches

People abroad wonder what is going on, and not for the first time, either.

What do you mean, they say, the Germans have enough vaccine but don't get vaccinated? It's ironic if you think about it because we are usually the ones who look down on our European neighbors. 

Speaking of foreign countries, once every few months an Argentine radio station calls to ask me how Germany is handling the coronavirus pandemic. It's always amazing to see how long a good reputation lasts. Even if we Germans were overwhelmed by the 8th COVID wave, many people 10,000 kilometers away would still think we are a country that quickly finds a solution to every problem.

Do you remember the lesson from the fable the boy who cried wolf? But if one reports on Germany today, it's a different story. You can tell the truth as much as you like — but people abroad still won't believe that we long ceased to be the country where everything runs smoothly.

At the moment, we are not doing well in the fight against COVID-19. I'm afraid it will continue in this way for quite a long time — certainly until my daughter's next birthday. If you read this, dear vaccine opponents, and it gives you pause — please just go get the jab. You are also welcome to come to the party.

This article was originally written in German.

Oliver Pieper | Analysis & Reports
Oliver Pieper Reporter on German politics and society, as well as South American affairs.