Germany: Expert looks at Merkel’s response to pandemic
Just 10 percent of Germany’s adult population has received their first dose of the vaccine and the country does not even make the list of top 20 nations in terms of rates worldwide. Britain has so far vaccinated 55 percent of its population while the US has a rate of 25 percent.
Cardiologist Dr Joachim Wunderlich said the bureaucratic process for people to get vaccinated in Germany was “unbelievable” and the amount of paperwork involved “insane”.
He told CBS News: “You can’t expect an over-80-year-old to fill out 10 pages and numerous consent forms and ask them to call a hotline to make an appointment.
“And then they risk being turned away because they forgot some forms at home.
“The pandemic is daunting enough, bureaucracy and data protection laws shouldn’t make it even worse.”
Ms Merkel has appealed to Germany’s 16 federal states, which are responsible for organising the vaccine roll-outs in their own jurisdictions, to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy.
But confidence in the vaccine programme is low after Germany joined other EU nations in temporarily suspending the use of the AstraZeneca shot over safety concerns.
And support for Ms Merkel’s ruling coalition has taken a hammering in the opinion polls as a result with the Greens closing in to just two points behind them ahead of a national election in September.
Support for the Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian CSU sister party – together dubbed the “Union” – has plunged to 25 percent, according to a Kantar poll published yesterday.
The fall of two percentage points from the previous week was the fourth consecutive decline in support for the conservative alliance to a level not seen since early March last year.
The CDU suffered defeats in two state elections earlier this month, dogged by frustration over the shambolic vaccine campaign, flip-flopping over virus restrictions and a face mask procurement scandal.
Bavarian premier and CSU leader Markus Soeder, a possible contender to replace Ms Merkel as chancellor in September, said: “There is a change of mood in the country.
“The Union must show that it still has strength and ideas and is not exhausted and worn out.
“It needs new beginnings now.”
The vaccine fiasco comes as Germany and the rest of Europe is being engulfed by a third wave of COVID-19.
Ms Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun said Germany must bring down coronavirus infections in the next few weeks or risk new virus mutations that are resistant to vaccines.
She said: “We are in the most dangerous phase of the pandemic.
“The next few weeks will determine whether we can foreseeably get the pandemic under control.”
“If the number of infections rises rapidly again there is a growing danger that the next virus mutation will become resistant to the vaccine.
“Then we would need new vaccines, then we would have to start vaccinating all over again.”