Berlin The end of September was for health ministers Karl Lauterbach (SPD) clear the matter. In the “not too distant future” the seven-day incidence will be 1000. The wave will not end on its own any time soon, he said.
Lauterbach’s warnings have not come true. The value is currently around 180 new infections per week and 100,000 inhabitants. Despite all the forecasts to the contrary, the autumn wave is under control. Since then, there have been calls for the last remaining measures to be lifted – including the so-called facility-related compulsory vaccination.
This means mandatory vaccination of employees in the health and care sector. At least on this point, Lauterbach’s ministry apparently wants to give in.
Even patient advocates had called for an end to the measure
In the case of the variant BQ.1.1, which is spreading and is considered to be even more contagious. the ministry announced on Monday that it could no longer be assumed that vaccination of the employees would still adequately protect the residents of the home from infection. The facility-related compulsory vaccination will therefore not be continued.
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The legal basis was decided almost a year ago, came into force on March 16 and expires this year without an extension. Several federal states, including Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Thuringia, had asked Lauterbach months ago to let the measure expire. Among other things, they stated that the obligation to vaccinate is exacerbating the shortage of staff in the area.
Even patient advocates had called for an end to the measure – and now welcome the decision. “The vaccination protects against serious illnesses and death, but not against the transmission of the virus,” said Eugen Brysch, the board member of the Patient Protection Foundation, the Handelsblatt. “That’s why the facility-related vaccination requirement came to nothing from the start.”
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Many federal states and health authorities would have recognized this and delayed sanctions. “Therefore, it is a sensible decision to let partial vaccination expire,” said Brysch. “In addition, no coercive measures should be taken against the unvaccinated during the last six weeks of the year.”
Lauterbach had left it open until the very end how he wanted to proceed in the matter. “We will make how we deal with the institution-related vaccination requirement depend on the course of the autumn and winter wave,” he said during a government survey in mid-October.
Other rules should not be continued permanently either
The Federal Ministry of Health is apparently also ready to relax the corona course in other respects. “By building up immunity in the population, it can be expected that we will approach the pandemic differently after the winter and that the rules may also change fundamentally,” it said on Wednesday. “It is not intended that the current rules will be continued permanently.”
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The current Infection Protection Act expires on April 7, 2023. Among other things, it provides for a mask requirement in long-distance transport and clinics and enables the countries to introduce stricter measures such as access restrictions. Lauterbach’s ministry doesn’t want to change anything in the short term. The number of infections will increase again in winter, it said.
Lauterbach also continues to reject calls for an end to the obligation to isolate. Last had the FDPHealth expert Andrew Ullmann renewed his call for a nationwide end to the rule. Four federal states had recently overturned the obligation to isolate, which Lauterbach sharply criticized with reference to the protection of vulnerable groups.
The Robert Koch Institute recommends that countries order five days of isolation for infected people. An urgent recommendation is made not to end the self-isolation until a (self-)test is negative. Health and care workers should also have been symptom-free 48 hours before the test was taken.