Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach considers it important that a possible corona vaccination obligation comes into force quickly after a corresponding decision by the Bundestag. The obligation to vaccinate must come quickly, said the SPD politician on Tuesday evening on the “RTL Direkt” program. “If we want to make an application that still works, then it is an application that puts the vaccination requirement into effect – what do I know – in April or around April, maybe in May.” there must be enough time to immunize the unvaccinated against a possible new corona wave in autumn. Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated must “go through three vaccination cycles (…) and by then it will be in September or October,” said Lauterbach. “Because it has to happen quickly so that I can still avert the wave – and that’s the reason for the obligation to vaccinate – in the fall.” Lauterbach and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) advocate general obligation to vaccinate. However, there should be no government proposal from the red-green-yellow coalition. Instead, groups of MPs should bring motions to Parliament on the subject. The Union had criticized this approach. Read also The Greens health expert Janosch Dahmen told the editorial network Germany (RND): “I believe that the German Bundestag should vote on the general obligation to vaccinate against the corona virus after thorough consultation in March.” If you want to comply with this time frame, ” it would make sense to discuss the group applications for the first time in February”. Lauterbach said with a view to the upcoming deliberations in parliament: “I would say that we will see important debates at the end of February or beginning of March.” The SPD parliamentary group had also already mentioned the goal of completing the decision in March. Next week, Wednesday, there will be a first orientation debate in the Bundestag. SPD faction deputy Dirk Wiese told the RND that he expected further specific group applications afterwards. The traffic light alliance is aiming for a vote without the usual group discipline and justifies this by saying that it is an ethical question. There are also different views on the subject within the coalition – some FDP politicians expressed sympathy for compulsory vaccination only for older people, while other FDP MPs around party vice-president Wolfgang Kubicki completely reject compulsory vaccination.
Mandatory use of FFP2 masks
The seven-day incidence of new corona infections had recently increased significantly and had reached the highest level since the pandemic began. Lauterbach expressed the expectation on RTL that the number of cases would continue to rise – and that the omicron wave in Germany would probably peak in mid-February. Also read Due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the virus, modeler Dirk Brockmann from the Humboldt University in Berlin recommends the mandatory use of FFP2 masks. “In order to further reduce the risk of infection and to prevent other measures, only FFP2 masks should be allowed everywhere,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. “They work almost as well against virus transmission as if people hadn’t met at all.” In their most recent decision, the federal and state governments had already urgently recommended the use of FFP2 masks, for example in local transport, and in some federal states this is already mandatory. In order to prevent the omicron wave from overloading laboratory capacities for the particularly safe PCR tests, the federal government’s patient officer, Stefan Schwartze (SPD), advocated prioritization. “The priority should be given to the PCR tests of all employees in the outpatient and inpatient care and health facilities with direct patient contact as well as the employees of the critical infrastructure,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. Also read In general, the national test strategy provides for prioritization of PCR tests when capacity is limited. Priority will then be given to people with Covid 19 symptoms and contact persons of proven infected people. But the protection of people with particularly high corona risks, for example in the health care system, is also a priority. Lauterbach had already said that for free tests from quarantine, he had arranged for health workers to have priority in the laboratory evaluation.
Omicron peak in a few weeks
The German Teachers’ Association advocated the increased use of PCR tests for unvaccinated teachers and for free testing after infections or from quarantine as contact persons. Schools are also part of the critical infrastructure, President Heinz-Peter Meidinger told the Funke newspapers. “I wouldn’t go as far as whether to prioritize teaching staff in the event of supply bottlenecks on an equal footing with staff in hospitals,” he explained. “But the German Teachers’ Association would see the security of the work of police stations and the maintenance of school operations on a comparable level.” Lauterbach expects that the omicron wave will only reach its peak in a few weeks. “I think we will reach the peak of the wave in mid-February, and then the number of cases could fall again, but we have not yet reached the peak,” said Lauterbach on Tuesday on RTL. The University Hospital Eppendorf Lauterbach also assumes that the nationwide seven-day incidence is significantly higher than the value of 553.2 reported on Tuesday. The number of unreported cases should be “roughly a factor of two,” said Lauterbach on the “RTL Direkt” program. “We don’t know exactly whether there are a thousand.” But he expects even higher numbers of cases. Lauterbach shares the opinion of experts such as the Berlin virologist Christian Drosten that at some point everyone will become infected. However, that does not mean that vaccination is unnecessary. “There is still no basic immunity, especially for the elderly and sick,” warned the minister, who therefore called for a quick decision by the Bundestag to introduce compulsory vaccination. You can listen to our WELT podcasts here. We use the player from the provider Podigee for our WELT podcasts. In order for you to be able to see the podcast player and to interact with or display content from Podigee and other social networks, we need your consent. Activate social networks
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