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Mandatory vaccinations won't help now

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When it comes to organizing their society, Germans generally tend to look for consensus. The political system is based on debate, which eventually allows the country to reach a compromise that most people can agree to.

There have been few exceptions to this rule, though some issues have split the country. Dealing with the more than a million refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 was one such issue. Today, the question of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations has turned into another emotional debate dividing the country.

Some people have come out in favor of requiring jabs , while others are strictly against it. Several recent polls show a more or less clear majority of people supporting mandatory vaccinations: Der Spiegel newsmagazine reported 72%, YouGov found 69% and the ARD public broadcaster said 57% of people in Germany support mandatory vaccinations. A survey by the tabloid Bild newspaper, however, said 70% are against the measure.

But regardless of which set of statistics is correct, now is absolutely the wrong time for a debate on mandatory vaccinations.

Coronavirus infections are exploding in Germany, with cases among children reaching dizzying heights. Some hospitals are already overstretched and confronting the potential necessity of triaging patients. Over 100,000 people in Germany have already died because of COVID-19 and Christian Drosten, one of the country's top virologists, has warned that, conservatively speaking, there will be 100,000 more deaths.

Joscha Weber is head of DW's fact checking division

Germany, a country that so far had got off relatively lightly during this pandemic, is standing at a coronavirus abyss. Could mandatory vaccinations prevent the worst? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Look at it in concrete terms: even if mandatory vaccinations were introduced next week — which with the ongoing transition from old to new German government is highly unlikely — and under even ideal circumstances, it would be months until the unvaccinated get appointments for their first and second shot, and even longer before they're fully protected. And that's only if the people who don't want the shots decide to show up for the vaccinations in the first place, which is also unlikely.........

© Deutsche Welle

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