More Rights For The Vaccinated: Merkel’s Govt Pushes for Vaccine Passports in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the opening ceremony of the annual Bayreuth Festival featuring the music of German composer Richard Wagner on July 25, 2021 at the festival theatre (Richard-Wagner-Festspielhaus) in Bayreuth, southern Germany. (Photo by STEFANIE LOOS / AFP) (Photo by STEFANIE LOOS/AFP via Getty Images)
STEFANIE LOOS/AFP via Getty Images

Top members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government are lobbying for the implementation of vaccine passports in a supposed bid to increase takeup of the jab throughout the country.

While Angela Merkel has previously ruled out making coronavirus vaccines mandatory in Germany, members of her government, including her chief of staff Helge Braun and Health Minister Jens Spahn, are calling for increased restrictions on the unvaccinated.

Neither official has openly committed to the idea of introducing a vaccine passport, as has been rolled out in France, however, they have both called for increased access to public venues for citizens who have had the jab.

“Masks and tests alone have to make it possible to do essential things, like ride public transport, or visit the hospital or town hall,” Jens Spahn said according to Deutsche Welle.

“But for discos, stadiums, or theatres, which aren’t essential, I can only imagine needing to be vaccinated or tested to get in,” he added.

Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun made similar comments last week, saying: “Those who have been vaccinated will definitely have more freedom than those who have not been vaccinated.”

It comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state premiers reached a decision on Tuesday to end government paid coronavirus tests.

“Since we can now offer vaccines comprehensively to every citizen in Germany, we will be ending the free COVID-19 tests for everyone effective on October 11,” Merkel said.

“Those who are not vaccinated will, in the future, need to be tested regularly when they are indoors with other people,” a draft of the decision read.

Following October 11th, unvaccinated people will be forced to pay for their own coronavirus tests, except in the case of children, teenagers, and those with medical exemptions that prevent them from taking a vaccine.

Merkel said that the purpose of the measure was to try to convince people to become vaccinated against the Chinese virus, saying that it provides “protection for everyone.”

At present around 60 per cent of German adults have received one jab, yet less than half of the country has been inoculated with the full two doses. In comparison, the UK has seen 75 per cent of its population have two jabs.

There has been some pushback against the idea of creating a two-tiered society in Germany, with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) mayor of Bremen Andreas Bovenschulte arguing that the government should focus on persuading people to take the vaccine rather than trying to coerce them.

Bovenschulte also questioned how the limits on freedoms for the unvaccinated would be defined, questioning whether the same restrictions would apply to places of worship as do to gyms, for example.

The SPD is currently in a coalition government with Anglea Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, however, it is not guaranteed that this situation will continue after the upcoming elections in September. Thus, some in the party are wary of being tied to attacks on freedom from Merkel’s government.

SPD Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said that the decision of forcing people to show their vaccination status should be left up to private businesses.

Brandenburg’s Minister-President Dietmar Woidke (SPD) said on Tuesday: “Life for non-vaccinated people is already uncomfortable today. These inconveniences will increase in the future for those who have not been vaccinated.”

Woidke went on to say: “I am firmly convinced that access to restaurants, for example, and participation in events will continue not only for those who have been vaccinated and recovered but also for people who have a negative being able to present a test must be possible.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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