“If everyone has a chance to get fully vaccinated by the end of summer, it is fair that the unvaccinated should have to pay for rapid or PCR tests for themselves when going on holiday, going to restaurants or going to the cinema,” Reinhardt told the German Editorial Network.
“In the end, it shouldn’t be the case that the community has to pay for individuals who are unwilling to get vaccinated,” he added.
To ensure that people understand the benefits of vaccination, Reinhardt believes politicians should make clear “that in the long run there will be more and more disadvantages for unvaccinated people”.
‘A question of fairness’
The Federal Government’s Tourism Commissioner, Thomas Bareiß (CDU), also sees the end of free coronavirus tests for those unwilling to vaccinate as “a question of fairness”.
Until now, the cost of the free rapid tests – or PCR tests for those with symptoms – have been paid for by the taxpayer.
Bareiß said on Wednesday that the state-subsidised tests should continue until everyone received a vaccination offer.
It is also clear, however, that those who refuse to vaccinate have to be aware of their responsibility and in future should bear the costs of any tests that are still necessary for socialising, travelling or attending events, he added.
German government targets ‘undecided’
With the vaccination campaign slowing down at present, politicians on both a federal and state level are now attempting to target people who are still on the fence about vaccination.
Speaking alongside Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Tuesday, Chancellor Merkel said the country had reached a situation where there were more vaccines than people willing to be vaccinated.
While the government is currently ruling out any kind of mandatory vaccination scheme, phasing out the free tests – and asking the unvaccinated to pay for their own – could potentially be on the cards for autumn, according to Spahn.
Meanwhile, state governments are taking the matter into their own hands, with drive-through vaccination clinics and pop-up centres in swimming pools, supermarkets and even takeaway restaurants.
In Bavaria, state premier Markus Söder said this week that he wanted to bring in vaccinated-only clubs and nightlife in autumn. Söder, who launched a failed bid to succeed Merkel earlier this year, has previously spoken out in favour of paid-for tests for the unvaccinated.
As of Wednesday, 58.9 percent of the population had received at least one dose, while 43.7 percent were fully immunised.