COVID digest: Rising German support for full vaccine mandate
Berlin, Nov 25: The support for a general vaccine mandate continues to grow in Germany while the number of new cases continues to climb, putting strain on the country's health care system.
Incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday his coalition was considering making vaccines mandatory for certain key workers but stopped short of a blanket obligation.
Germany's total coronavirus death toll passed 100,000 on Thursday. At the same time, some hospitals are at the point of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.
Public support for the general vaccine mandate has grown, reaching 69% in favor according to a recent YouGov poll, with only 23% saying they opposed such a move.
Currently, just 68.1% of the German population is fully vaccinated, with the share falling to just 57.8% in the eastern state of Saxony, one of the worst-hit at present.
Some leading lawmakers, such as the state premiers of Hesse and Baden-Württemberg as well as the mayor of Berlin, have also voiced their support for making vaccines mandatory for all.
The Italian government passed a decree on Wednesday requiring proof of vaccination or recovery for access to many parts of public life. The restrictions for the unvaccinated will come into effect on December 6 and last until January 15.
A vaccine mandate will also apply for an array of front-line workers including police, teachers and soldiers from December 15 — such a rule already exists for health care workers.
German football giants Bayern Munich confirmed on Wednesday that national team star Joshua Kimmich had tested positive for COVID-19. Kimmich had been in the spotlight for weeks since saying after a match against Hoffenheim that he had not yet been vaccinated. The Bavarian club said Kimmich was in isolation.
Bayern player Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting also tested positive prior to Kimmich. Bayern sent several players into isolation at the weekend following a positive case in a person "close to the first team;" Kimmich was already quarantined at that point after a personal contact had tested positive.
Canada began vaccinating children aged between 5 and 11 against COVID-19 on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of the United States and Israel.
ab/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)