Germany to make vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers

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The German parliament has approved an amendment that will has make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers.

On Friday, the country’s Lower and Upper Parliaments (Bundestag and Bundesrat) amended the country’s infection protection act, meaning people who work in hospitals, doctors’ offices or nursing homes will have to provide proof of full vaccination protection or recovery by mid-March 2022, reports Xinhua news agency.

The aim of the new regulation is to “better protect” elderly citizens and people with existing illnesses from infection, the government said, particularly as there have been repeated outbreaks of Covid-19 in nursing homes in Germany.

“We cannot fight this pandemic in the medium term without increasing the vaccination rates,” said Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach during his speech in the Bundestag on Friday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he had originally believed enough citizens in Germany could be convinced to get the vaccine.

However, he said on Wednesday that a general vaccination obligation was now necessary in order to “protect all of us and to ensure the health of all of us collectively”.

The only exception to the new rules for healthcare workers will be for those who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons.

The country’s vaccination campaign is now picking up again, with 1.1 million vaccine doses administered on Thursday.

However, the overall vaccination rate has only reached 69.4 per cent, according to official figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the Ministry of Health (BMG).

At least 17.7 million people, or 21.3 per cent of the country’s population, has also received an additional booster vaccine.

Meanwhile, Germany’s federal and state governments aim to mobilise 30 million vaccine doses by Christmas.

To speed up the country’s vaccination campaign, the amendment also allows for trained pharmacists, veterinarians and dentists to administer vaccines for a limited period of time.

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