Kühnert doubts the schedule for general vaccination

The debate about compulsory vaccination was announced weeks ago. But so far there have been no concrete proposals. Adhering to the original schedule hardly seems possible.

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert has spoken out in favor of a swift decision by the Bundestag on a general vaccination requirement. On Monday after deliberations in the party presidium, however, he doubted that the entry into force originally targeted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) could still be achieved by the beginning of March. “It may now be the case that the schedule in the German Bundestag and the Bundesrat doesn’t allow that,” said Kühnert.

He rejected the opposition’s accusation that Scholz and the federal government were not actively promoting the project. “That has nothing to do with a lack of leadership,” said Kühnert. It was right to leave the question to parliament, and Scholz, as a member of parliament, had clearly positioned himself for compulsory vaccination. “This is not a disguised question of confidence that is being asked here,” emphasized the SPD General Secretary.

Compulsory vaccination: Government does not want to submit a draft

Last year, Scholz had spoken out in favor of a general compulsory vaccination in early February or early March, but left the decision to the Bundestag. Parliament is now supposed to vote on it without being forced to take part in a parliamentary group. However, there is no schedule for this yet. At the end of the month, an “orientation debate” is to take place. When it will be voted is still completely open.

The federal government does not want to submit its own draft law. “There should be group motions from the Bundestag,” said Vice Government Spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann. For the decision, the parliamentary group requirement should be lifted.

Dahmen: “Leadership does not mean Basta politics”

The Greens health expert Janosch Dahmen emphasized that for a general vaccination requirement it is right to take enough time for good advice. “Leadership does not mean Basta politics, but taking society with you and overcoming rifts.” The proposed group proposals enabled “cross-party decision-making, which also contributes to depolarization in society”. This has already been tried out for other medical-ethical questions such as organ donation.

Janosch Dahmen in the Bundestag: The Greens health expert wants to initially expand the mandatory vaccination to other professional groups. (Source: Kay Nietfeld / dpa)

Dahmen therefore proposes a two-stage approach towards a general corona vaccination requirement. This does not help now in the Omikron wave, but in the best case protect against further waves in the coming autumn / winter season, said the member of the Bundestag on Monday on Deutschlandfunk. In a next step, the facility-related vaccination obligation that has already been decided should be extended to other areas such as fire brigade, police or the penal system and then the general vaccination obligation should be implemented as soon as possible.

Facility-related vaccination requirements are to be expanded

A vaccination requirement for employees in facilities with particularly vulnerable people such as nursing homes and clinics had already been decided in December. They have to prove by mid-March 2022 that they have been vaccinated or have recovered. According to previous information, the SPD is aiming to conclude a legislative process “in the first quarter”, ie by the end of March.

In order to speed up the legislative process for the adoption of a mandatory vaccination law, the Bundestag could also dispense with its traditional carnival break this year. Representatives from coalition and opposition factions expressed their readiness on Monday to have the plenary come together for a special session if the legislative process so required. So far, the Bundestag’s calendar of meetings has only recorded a single week of meetings in all of February.

Olaf Scholz: The Federal Chancellor cannot meet his originally announced schedule for the introduction of the general compulsory vaccination. (Source: imago images / Florian Gaertner / photothek.de)Olaf Scholz: The Federal Chancellor cannot meet his originally announced schedule for the introduction of the general compulsory vaccination. (Source: Florian Gaertner / photothek.de / imago images)

Union ready to forego the carnival break

“The carnival break will not prevent us from coming to legislation,” said the traffic light groups on Monday. “We showed in the pandemic that we are ready for special meetings at any time.” According to this information, the heads of the Bundestag parliamentary groups want to advise on a schedule for the consultation and adoption of a mandatory vaccination law on Tuesday.

The opposition CDU / CSU parliamentary group would also be “ready at any time” for a special meeting, according to their ranks. “We do not insist on pausing because of Carnival,” said a parliamentary group representative to AFP.

Should the Bundestag actually only meet for a single week in February, the schedule for the further parliamentary procedure for the adoption would be significantly delayed, because the next week of the session is not scheduled until March 14th according to the Bundestag’s previous planning.

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Kühnert doubts the schedule for general vaccination