German Covid “jab to Freedom” bill criticized as unfair to young people | Germany
German ‘jab to freedom’ bill that from this weekend would lift social distancing rules, testing requirements and curfews for people who have been fully vaccinated, draws criticism for discriminating against young people a few months after receiving their first dose.
The legislation, drafted by Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht and approved on Tuesday by Angela Merkel’s cabinet, maintains that people who have either recovered from a Covid-19 infection or who have been fully vaccinated against the virus must be found their fundamental rights because they are no longer a problem. threat to society.
People in these groups are said to be freed from the need to test negative before entering stores, barbershops or zoos, according to media reports. They would also no longer be required to self-quarantine after entering Germany, unless they come from a country that has been designated as a high-risk area.
Critics say the new rules would unfairly exclude young people who have already sacrificed their social lives to protect an elderly population at high risk for more than a year.
Restrictions currently in place in German regions with more than 100 infections per 100,000 people for seven days, such as a two-household rule for private gatherings and a nighttime curfew, would also no longer apply to those who have had two doses. vaccine.
The legislation would not yet release vaccinated people from the obligation to wear a mask in designated public spaces, nor grant them privileges when booking hotels or holiday apartments.
The bill is due to be debated in the two legislative bodies of the German parliament, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, on Thursday and Friday, and could enter into force as early as the weekend.
The drive to ease restrictions comes as Germany enters its sixth month of tough coronavirus checks and five months ahead of national elections that will give voters a chance to deliver their verdict on the government’s handling of the pandemic.
After a rocky start, Germany’s vaccination campaign recently got underway: 28.7% of the country’s population had received their first dose on Tuesday morning and 6.7 million people were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Some federal states have already implemented special privileges for those vaccinated. Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder said on Tuesday that testing requirements or the nighttime curfew would no longer apply to people vaccinated or recovered in his state from this Thursday.
The southern state also plans to reopen outdoor restaurants, theaters, concert halls and cinemas in low-incidence areas for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people from May 10.
Dr Wolfram Henn, a genetics scientist who sits on the German Ethics Council, pleaded in the Berliner Zeitung journal for the government to prioritize children and adolescents for the next round of vaccination before the vaccine becomes available to all.
The German police union has warned that yellow paper passports with vaccine-specific stickers currently used to certify citizens’ immunity status can be easily forged. An EU-wide digital vaccination passport, the ‘digital green certificate’, is not expected to be launched in Germany until June.
Scientists have also expressed concerns about releasing individuals from the need for testing. “It would be fatal if vaccinated and recovered people no longer had to be tested on arrival in a country in the future,” said Ute Teichert, head of the Federal Association of Public Health Service Physicians.
“Without extensive testing, we will lose track of infections, especially when it comes to variants of the virus,” Teichert told media group Funke.