BERLIN (Reuters) – The incoming German government wants to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory from March 16 for people working in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical practices, according to a copy of draft legislation seen by Reuters on Sunday.
Germany has been reticent about making vaccines compulsory for fear of exacerbating a shortage of medical and nursing home staff, but support has grown for the idea as the country has faced surging infections in a fourth wave of the pandemic.
The Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats, which are set to form the new German government on Wednesday, are set to present the legislation to parliament in the coming week.
The draft seen by Reuters said staff working in these areas would have to prove that they are vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 or present a medical certificate to show they cannot be vaccinated by March 15.
As the country seeks to vaccinate or offer boosters to 30 million people before Christmas, the draft legislation also grants permission for dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists to be allowed to give shots for a temporary period with the appropriate training.
The proposed legislation extends until Feb. 15 temporary measures that would allow Germany’s federal states to introduce more drastic lockdown measures if needed.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke, writing by Emma Thomasson, Editing by Alex Richardson)