‘Majority of Germans’ against immediately lifting restrictions for vaccinated people

New measures passed on Friday in Germany will give vaccinated people - as well as those who have recovered from Covid-19 - more freedoms. Yet the population is torn over whether that’s a good idea right now.

'Majority of Germans' against immediately lifting restrictions for vaccinated people
A woman at the beach in Kiel on Thursday. Tourism could soon become much more accessible to those with the vaccine. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Georg Wendt

A total of 40 percent of respondents from an ARD-Deutschlandtrend survey said they thought it was “fundamentally wrong” for those who are fully vaccinated or have already recovered from a coronavirus infection to be exempt from restrictions such as social gathering rules and curfews.

From a first glance, it also appeared that the majority (55 percent) were in favour of easing curbs for vaccinated people. Yet this group disagreed on the timing – with the majority feeling it was too soon to allow special privileges for those who had gotten the vaccine.

READ ALSO: Germany to allow more freedom for Covid vaccinated people from Saturday

A full 51 percent of the 1,351 respondents percent felt that that extra freedoms should only be granted when more German residents have had the chance to receive their jabs in the first place.

Currently German states are vaccinating either priority group two or three, the latter which includes people over 60 and or with certain pre-existing medical conditions. 

However on Thursday Germany announced that it states can open up vaccines with disputed manufacturer AstraZeneca to anyone in the country who wanted one, regardless of if they are on a priority list or not. 

As of May 6th about 31.5 percent of the population had received at least one jab, and 8.8 percent had been fully inoculated.

Meanwhile, a Civey survey from Tuesday showed similar results: 45 percent of people thought that vaccine privileges should only apply when everyone has received a chance to be vaccinated.

In a March survey The Local conducted, many readers were also on edge about a ‘vaccine passport’ to guarantee more freedoms – especially when many younger people are still waiting in line for their jabs. 

READ ALSO: ‘The only way forward’: Should Germany introduce a Covid-19 immunity passport?

‘Chancellor should announce timeline back to normality’

German politicians were also deeply divided about loosening restrictions for people who had already received their shots, or previously had the virus. 

Free Democratic (FDP) general secretary Volker Wissing told Bild daily on Friday that curbs should be generally lifted – with a specific date – rather than waiting for more people to receive the vaccine.

“We are vaccinating our freedom back! It would do our society good if the chancellor now quickly names a date from when we can have our normal lives again – like in the US and the UK,” he said.

Yet Social Democratic (SPD) health expert Karl Lauterbach, who expects the virus incidence rate to fall exponentially in a few weeks, appealed to all Germans to live with the restrictions until the end of May. 

“We’ve held out for a year and four months. Don’t we want to hold out for these three more weeks and then have the full enjoyment?” he said Thursday evening on the ZDF program Maybrit Illner.

This last stretch of moderation is also important for those “who can not yet receive a vaccine.”

READ ALSO: ‘Hold out a little longer’: German health expert warns against lifting restrictions too soon

The national chairman of the German GP association, Ulrich Weigeldt, appealed to people in Germany to get vaccinated with AstraZeneca also out of global responsibility. 

While in India or Brazil severely ill people are collapsing on the way to the clinic, or completely unable to get a vaccine, “in Germany we are engaged in a sometimes absurd debate about whether strictly tested, already approved vaccines are really good enough for us,” Weigeldt told the news portal T-online.

“We have to vaccinate. Everything that’s there, to everyone who wants it. Now.”

READ ALSO: Germany gives green light to offer AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults


respondents – (die) Befragte

A step in the right direction – in die richtige Richtung gehen

Recovered people – (die) Genesene

to call on/to appeal – appellieren

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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Is the pandemic over in Germany?

As much of Germany lifts - or prepares to lift - the last remaining Covid-19 measures, intensive care units say Covid-19 admissions are no longer straining the system.

Is the pandemic over in Germany?

Despite a difficult winter of respiratory illnesses, intensive care units in Germany say Covid-19 admissions have almost halved. The number of cases having to be treated in the ICU has gone down to 800 from 1,500 at the beginning of this month.

“Corona is no longer a problem in intensive care units,” Gernot Marx, Vice President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, told the German Editorial Network. “A the moment, we don’t have to think every day about how to still ensure the care of patients, but how to actually run a service that can help.”

Marx said the drop has allowed them to catch up on many postponed surgeries.

The number of sick employees in hospitals is also falling, helping to relieve the pressure on personnel.

The easing pressure on hospitals correlates with the assessment of prominent virologist and head of the Virology department at Berlin’s Charite – Christian Drosten – who said in December that the pandemic was close to ending, with the winter wave being an endemic one.

German federal and state governments are now in the midst of lifting the last of the country’s pandemic-related restrictions. Free Covid-19 antigen tests for most people, with exceptions for medical personnel, recently ended.

READ ALSO: Free Covid-19 tests end in Germany

Six federal states – Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein – have ended mandatory isolation periods for people who test positive for Covid-19.

Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt, and Schleswig-Holstein have ended the requirement to wear FFP2 masks on public transport, while Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia, and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania will follow suit on February 2nd.

At that time, the federal government will also drop its requirement for masks to be worn on long-distance trains. Labour Minister Hubertus Heil says that’s when he also intends to exempt workplaces – apart from medical locations – from a mask requirement.

READ ALSO: Germany to drop mask mandate in trains and buses from February 2nd

Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg will also end the requirement for patients to wear a mask in doctor’s offices. That’s a requirement that, so far, will stay in place everywhere else. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has also said that he thinks this requirement should remain. 

But some public health insurers and general practitioners are calling for a nationwide end to the obligation for wearing masks in doctor’s offices.

“The pandemic situation is over,” National Association of Statutory Health Physicians (KBV) Chair Andreas Gassen told the RND network. “High-risk patients aren’t treated in all practices. It should generally be left up to medical colleagues to decide whether they want to require masks in their practices.”