Wed, December 08, 2021

international

Merkel makes urgent appeal for Germans to get Covid-19 shots


German Chancellor Angela Merkel reinforced the governments urgent appeal for people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying the inoculation campaign will be the deciding factor for the future course of the pandemic.

"The more are vaccinated, the more free we can be again," Merkel said Tuesday during a visit to the RKI public-health institute. Still, Germany won't follow France in requiring compulsory vaccination for health workers, she said.

Merkel and officials in her government have long said the vaccine campaign is the only way Europe's biggest economy can return to -- and maintain -- something resembling normality. However, there is increasing evidence that the vaccination drive, which had accelerated rapidly after a sluggish start, is beginning to slow.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said it's not a supply issue and there is plenty of vaccine available, adding that "there are no more excuses" for not getting a shot. Speaking alongside Merkel, he urged adults to get vaccinated in order to protect children under 12, who don't have access to Covid inoculations.

The RKI has suggested that around 85% of the population between the ages of 12 and 59 and 90% of those over the age of 60 need to get immunized for Germany to reach so-called "herd immunity."

Almost 59% of the population have received at least one dose, and 43% are fully vaccinated, according to the latest health ministry data. Germany will keep a pledge to offer a shot to all those who are eligible by the end of the summer, Spahn said.

Authorities have urged continued vigilance due to the spread of the more contagious delta variant of Covid-19. Germany's seven-day incidence rate has edged up over the past week, but was still at only 6.5 per 100,000 people as of Tuesday, after rising as high as nearly 170 during the "third wave" in the spring.

Germany is doing everything possible to prevent another lockdown, Merkel said, warning that the pandemic is not over despite the progress made in vaccination.

Infection rates have shot up in some European countries. In Cyprus, the 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 inhabitants is at almost 500, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. It's more than 200 in Spain and Portugal, both popular destinations for German tourists.

Published : July 14, 2021

By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Naomi Kresge, Patrick Donahue