SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

German health workers must be fully vaccinated by March 15th 2022

The new German government is set to bring in its partial vaccine mandate for health workers and carers in March next year, according to a draft law that's due to be voted on this week.

Vaccine booklets
Numerous vaccine booklets scattered on a desk. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

“To protect public health and vulnerable groups of people from Covid-19, provision is made for persons working in certain establishments and businesses to be vaccinated or recovered or to have a medical certificate stating that there is a contraindication to vaccination against Covid-19,” a draft of the law obtained by Reuters states.

The change will means that anyone who works as a doctor, nurse, paramedic or carer will have until March 15th, 2022 to provide their employer with proof that they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.

If they can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, they will have until this date to secure an official doctor’s note explaining that why they can’t get their Covid jabs. 

Anyone starting a new job after March 16th must have proof of vaccination before they start work, the draft law states. This rule will also apply to staff in doctors’ surgeries and people who work in emergency services, and people who don’t comply with the mandate could lose their jobs.

The move by the incoming SPD, Green and FDP coalition is the first step towards a more assertive stance from the government on Covid vaccination.

With more than 30 percent of the population still unvaccinated, the government is considering following in the footsteps of neighbouring Austria and introducing a general vaccinate mandate for over-12s next year.

The plan is expected to be put to a vote in parliament this month after Germany’s new government takes the reins on December 8th. According to incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz, MPs won’t whipped along party lines but will be able to vote with their conscience on the issue. 

Angela Merkel has recently spoken out in favour of compulsory jabs. 

The move is part of a raft of new measures aimed at taming the fourth wave, including barring unvaccinated people from non-essential shops and other public spaces and allowing states to close restaurants and bars when incidences are high. 

READ ALSO:

In an attempt to speed up the vaccination drive in the run up to Christmas, the government has also drafted a new law to allow pharmacists, veterinarians and dentists to vaccinate people over the age of 12.

These professionals are expected to undergo special training first, and will either have to prove that they have an appropriate space to carry out vaccinations or work as part of a mobile vaccination team. 

According to DPA, these professionals will only gain permission to carry out the jabs for a limited period of time while Germany attempts to ramp up it vaccine coverage and roll out booster jabs. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

COVID-19 VACCINES

Where – and how – people can get the new Omicron vaccine in Germany

Three German states have started rolling out new Covid vaccines that are specially adapted to the Omicron variant. Here's who's eligible to get a jab and how to go about it.

Where - and how - people can get the new Omicron vaccine in Germany

What are the Omicron vaccines and how are they different?

In the latest phase of the Covid pandemic, the Omicron variant has been by far the most dominant variant worldwide. Though Omicron is believed to cause milder courses of illness than preceding variants like Delta, it’s known for being highly transmissible and adept at evading the body’s immune responses. 

In September, three Omicron vaccines received EU-wide approval: two vaccines from BioNTech and Moderna adapted to the BA.1 sub-variant, and another Omicron booster from BioNTech to protect against the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants.

Like their previous Covid vaccines, the latest from BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines, a recently developed vaccine type that teaches our bodies to produce an immune response when exposed a molecule known as a messenger RNA. The difference is that these vaccines are what’s known as “bivalent”, meaning they contain both a component of the original strain of Covid alongside a component of the BA.1, BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subtypes respectively.

READ ALSO: EU approves new dual-strain Covid vaccines in time for autumn booster campaigns

That means they’re designed to both offer protection against Covid caused by previous variants as well as the new Omicron subtypes. 

As with other Covid vaccines, the Omicron vaccines are only believed to offer greater protection from infection for a short time after getting the jab. However, studies suggest that they continue to offer good protection against severe courses of illness. 

Where are the jabs being rolled out in Germany?

So far, only a handful of northern German states are offering the new BA.4 and BA.5 vaccine, though GPs have been able to order doses of Moderna’s BA.1 vaccine for a few weeks now.

One of the first states offering the latest Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is Berlin, where both doctors’ practices and the Ring Center Vaccination Centre in Friedrichshain have been providing Omicron vaccinations since Tuesday.

A list of clinics with doses of the specially adapted vaccines can be found here (in German). Alternatively, people can head to the vaccination clinic at the Ring Center between 9am and 7:30pm daily, with or without an appointment. 

In Lower Saxony, GPs are currently able to obtain up to 240 doses of the new BA.4/BA.5 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech. Vaccination centres such as the Impfzentrum am Landtag in Hannover are also offering the new Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

Around 145 mobile vaccination teams are also expected to receive doses of the new vaccine over the course of the week, meaning people who aren’t able to get a jab at their doctors’ surgery or vaccination centre yet can look out for pop-up clinics in places like shopping malls and on the high street.

In Bremen, the latest BA.4/BA.5 adapted vaccine from Pfizer has been used as the standard booster shot in a number of vaccination centres since Thursday. People who are interested in the Omicron vaccine can get it at the vaccination centre Am Brill, in the vaccination centres in Bremen-Nord, Bremen-Ost and at the centre in Bremerhaven. Mobile vaccination teams have also received doses of the new vaccine.

Due to the current high level of demand, people are being advised to book an appointment ahead of time at www.impfzentrum.bremen.de. 

Doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Omicron vaccine are expected to be rolled out in other German states in the coming weeks. 

Are the new vaccines recommended for everyone?

On September 20th, Germany’s Standing Vaccines Commission (STIKO) updated its guidance to recommend that the latest Omicron vaccines are used when doctors are giving out booster jabs. 

That means that anyone who hasn’t had a third dose of Covid vaccine should soon be able to get an Omicron booster as standard. 

However, STIKO currently only recommends second boosters (or fourth jabs) for certain groups who are at risk of severe courses of Covid: people over the age of 60, nursing home residents, staff at care homes and hospitals and people with existing immune system deficiencies. 

For this group, the fourth dose should only be administered more than six months after the third dose, according to STIKO. This can be reduced to four months in exception circumstances.

People who don’t fall into any of these categories may still be able to get a dose of one of the newest Omicron vaccines after a consultation with their doctor. 

READ ALSO: Can anyone in Germany get a second Covid booster jab?

SHOW COMMENTS