The vaccination campaign in Germany is no longer making any real headway. The number of infections is on the rise. The pressure on those willing to be vaccinated is increasing. They are threatened with access restrictions due to the 3G or even 2G rule, and from October 11 there will also be no more free citizen tests. Now Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn wants yet another screw to be turned: The CDU politician wants unvaccinated employees to have to accept wage deductions if they have to go into quarantine.
Anyone who is officially ordered to go into quarantine and cannot work during that time is entitled to wage replacement payments under the Infection Protection Act. However, the regulation also provides that the claim may be waived if the quarantine could have been avoided by vaccination.
And the first federal states have already decided to stop payments: Baden-Württemberg will stop paying as of Sept. 15. According to a report by the news agency epd, Rhineland-Palatinate will follow suit on October 1. And Hesse also wants to reject applications for compensation in the future. However, the state government has not yet named a specific date.
According to the report, Bavaria will continue to decide on compensation in each individual case. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein are pushing for a uniform regulation throughout Germany. One sets oneself for a time as uniform as possible, it was said in addition from Kiel.
Quarantine obligations also for vaccinated possible
Berlin wants to hold on the other hand to the compensation. There one sees the condition that by vaccination a quarantine is avoided, not fulfilled. Quarantine obligations could currently also apply to vaccinated persons, for example, in the presence of symptoms or contact persons of people infected with virus variants, explained a spokesman for the Berlin Senate Department for Finance.
According to the report, Spahn said that the decision lies with the federal states. But he could very well understand it if unvaccinated employees were not entitled to continued wage payments in the event of quarantine. Spahn argues, "In the end, it's the taxpayers who finance the wage replacement benefit - for someone who could have been vaccinated." Spahn continued, "I don't see why in the long run others should pay if someone doesn't opt for free vaccination when they could."
SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach criticized Spahn's plea and the decision of some states. "I think wage deductions because of quarantine are wrong. Not all unvaccinated people are lateral thinkers; we simply have not yet reached many with our campaign. Sick people should not be punished for misbehavior, and certainly not for not vaccinating," he wrote on Twitter.
In the past year and a half, the German states have paid a total of 458 million euros in quarantine wage compensation, according to an epd survey. The highest amount of compensation payments was received in North Rhine-Westphalia: 120 million euros.
According to the report, Bremen compensated affected employees to the tune of around 4.7 million euros, Saxony paid 25.1 million euros, Thuringia 68.8 million euros, Lower Saxony 72.1 million euros, and Bavaria 83 million euros. The total from a total of 15 German states is around 597 million euros. Saarland did not provide any details. Brandenburg also provided information on the amount of compensation. On average, 812 euros were paid out for an approved application.
As of Wednesday, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), only nearly 62 percent of the population in Germany had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Sixty-six percent had received at least one dose, according to the report. At the state level, the city-state of Bremen has the highest proportion of fully vaccinated people, at 71.6 percent, as well as the largest proportion vaccinated at least once. According to the figures, Saxony continues to bring up the rear in terms of the proportion of fully vaccinated persons, with 52.5 percent. Saxony is also the last state in the ranking for those vaccinated at least once (55.7 percent).
Spahn had explained on Wednesday that the vaccination rate for the over-12s is currently just under 75 percent. With the over-60-year olds a ratio of over 90 percent is aimed at, with the 12 to 59-year olds of 75 percent. At least five million vaccinations are still needed. It would then be unlikely that the intensive care units would reach their limits again, so that there would then be the prospect of "a safe fall and winter," the health minister said.
Photo by Myriam Zilles