Mertens at Lanz: STIKO boss: Booster recommendation for everyone soon

Mertens at Lanz
STIKO boss: Booster recommendation for everyone soon

By Marko Schlichting

The discussion about compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups is gaining momentum. With Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, an FDP politician at Markus Lanz now also advocates compulsory vaccination for employees in nursing homes. In addition, STIKO boss Mertens announces a new recommendation for booster vaccinations.

The corona situation in Germany is becoming more and more dramatic – and that is mainly due to those who want to get through the pandemic without an immunizing syringe. In Saxony, for example, the incidence of unvaccinated people is currently around 1,800, and of vaccinated people a little over 60. It was not possible to achieve a sufficient vaccination rate, says the head of the permanent vaccination commission (STIKO), Thomas Mertens, at Markus Lanz im ZDF. According to the latest findings, a quota of 90 percent would be necessary to achieve herd immunity. “The higher the better,” says the scientist. The vaccination rate in Germany is currently around 70 percent.

In this context, the discussion about compulsory vaccination is gaining momentum. In several surveys, a majority of German citizens recently voted in favor. The politicians of the executive government and the possible new federal government disagree. At the moment there is a discussion about compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups.

At Markus Lanz, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff was the first politician of the FDP to speak on this topic – and spoke out in favor of mandatory vaccination for those employed in the care of the elderly. “We have to discuss a facility-related vaccination requirement,” said Lambsdorff. He himself was open to it, he said – and meant the compulsory vaccination, not the discussion. “Compulsory vaccinations in old people’s and nursing homes do not mean an unreasonable tightening of occupational safety and hygiene regulations,” said the FDP foreign policy official. However, at the moment, compulsory testing for employees and visitors to nursing homes is more important.

Stiko boss: “Should have pointed out louder dangers”

The Stiko may not have been entirely innocent of the fact that the current dramatic situation in the healthcare system has come about. STIKO boss Mertens admitted that scientists like Christian Drosten had already warned of the current situation in January. The STIKO itself issued the first warnings in July. But: “From today’s perspective, you should have said that louder back then,” says Mertens. He phoned Health Minister Jens Spahn a couple of times, between five and ten times. At the time, he did not tell Spahn that the corona situation would be dramatic. He should have known the data himself. “Spahn always gave me the impression that he was trying very hard to find out about the facts,” said the scientist.

Soon a new recommendation for booster vaccinations

And where Mertens was ever self-critical, he also admitted a communication problem between the STIKO and the Conference of Health Ministers. The latter had recommended booster vaccinations for all those whose vaccinations were six months or more ago. The STIKO recommended vaccinations for people over 70 years of age, people in nursing homes and for nursing and medical staff. Mertens said the same thing was meant.

This statement will soon be obsolete anyway. Because Mertens promised: In the next few days a new booster recommendation should come from the STIKO. After that, all German citizens over the age of 18 should try to get a third vaccination.

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