Unvaccinated Health Staff ‘Unacceptable’, German Health Minister Says | World News

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach defended restrictions on the unvaccinated and mandatory COVID-19 jabs for medical and nursing staff due to be passed by parliament later on Friday.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that in establishments where people live, who put their trust in us to protect them, that people are unnecessarily dying because unvaccinated work there,” said Lauterbach to the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

Germany, in the grip of a fourth wave of infections, has a relatively low rate of vaccination compared with the rest of Europe. Some 69.4% of the population is fully vaccinated, while at least 21.3% have received a booster shot, according to official numbers.

The Robert Koch Institute infectious disease body reported 61,288 new infections from the coronavirus and 484 more COVID-related deaths on Friday.

Beyond compulsory vaccinations for certain professions from mid-March, the new legislation also allows for Germany’s 16 federal states to close bars and restaurants due to high infection rates.

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A survey by broadcaster ZDF found that more than three quarters of Germans were in favour of severe restrictions on the unvaccinated, while 21% did not think it was the right course.

Nearly 70% were in favour of making vaccines mandatory, a step that is supported by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and could be in practice by end-February.

(Reporting by Miranda Murray; Editing by Alison Williams)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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