Thursday, April 15

Germany will grant privileges to vaccinated citizens

Correspondent in Berlin



The German government’s speech has turned dry in recent weeks. From the initial seamless alignment to the opinion of the Ethical Council, which in April rejected any special treatment for vaccinated people, it has gone on to the announcement of the Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, of a regime of different freedoms for those who have already received the vaccine. The Ethical Council is made up of 26 members proposed in equal parts by the federal government and the Bundestag, appointed by the President of the Bundestag and made up of experts in the areas of law, medicine and philosophy. It advises the parliament on ethical issues and strengthens the freedom of conscience of the deputies. In his opinion, “it would be illegal to deny the same rights to people who have not yet been vaccinated” and “when a wide range of vaccines has been reached, the restrictions should be lifted for all citizens equally,” according to its president, Alena Buyx. But the last thing Spahn said about it is that “anyone who is vaccinated will be able to visit shops or hairdressers without further testing” and will enjoy greater freedom of movement. This will be the proposal that leads to the next meeting of the «Council of Presidents», which includes the federal government and the Presidents of the Bundesländer: «That the vaccinated citizens are treated as those who have just tested negative».

In Germany, where leisure, gastronomy, culture and partially commerce are still closed, which can only be accessed by appointment and a negative test carried out in the last 48 hours, there are no plans yet for a de-escalation. Only the schools have been opened and have recovered a relative normality, covered by the distribution of two free rapid tests for each student per week and the vaccination of teachers. Chancellor Merkel insists that it is not time for reopening and that “we are facing a new pandemic” due to the mutations of the virus, “much more contagious and much more deadly”, so that spring is subject to severe restrictions, except for those vaccinated.

Minister Spahn relies to justify this strategy, on the reports prepared by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which agrees that those who have received full vaccination “They will no longer have to undergo quarantines.”

Responsible for coordinating the fight against the pandemic in Germany, the RKI highlights in its latest report sent to the Ministry of Health that “according to current knowledge, the risk of transmission of the virus by people who are fully vaccinated is fifteen days at the latest after administration of the second dose, lower than in asymptomatic people who are negative in an antigen test ”. This report has also been sent to the governments of the 16 federal states and Minister Spahn has admitted that, if the measures in force manage to stop and break the current wave of the pandemic in this country, the report prepared by the RKI on the vaccinated it will be taken into account in the next talks between the federal government and regional executives.

Change of criteria

Spahn himself had previously spoken out against any type of privilege for those vaccinated. “Many wait in solidarity for some to be vaccinated in the first place. And those not yet vaccinated hope that the vaccinated also show solidarity with patients. No one should demand privileges until everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated, “said the Christian Democrat politician last December. But in the German federal government the social democratic vision of the matter weighs progressively more. The SPD deputy and epidemiologist Karl Lauterbach, spokesman for his party on health issues, has repeatedly expressed his support for Spahn’s proposal, since “it has been shown that vaccinated people are very rarely contagious and are probably incapable of transmitting the virus to others”. Lauterbach has been insisting for weeks that freedoms They can only be returned to those who have completed their vaccination. “In the event that the scientific data are confirmed, those vaccinated should be able to regain all their rights,” agreed Dietmar Bartsch, the head of the Die Linke (The Left) parliamentary group. All of them, however, agree that vaccinated people will have to continue to keep a safe distance and wear a mask in crowded areas or closed spaces, like the rest of the population. “Because both the daily test and the complete vaccination significantly reduce the risk of infection, but they do not provide 100% security against others”, Minister Jens Spahn has admitted.

Only the anti-European party and considered far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has rejected the project to return their freedoms only to the vaccinated. His head of the parliamentary group, Alice Weidel, has declared that the measure will mean “stigmatizing those who have not yet been vaccinated or refuse to do so” and has assessed that “it is, in fact, an imposition of the vaccine.”

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