German government proposes more rights for vaccinated people: What you need to know

26 April 2021

On Monday Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state premiers will discuss whether those who have been fully vaccinated should receive more basic freedoms. Here’s what that could entail.

Not even one in 10 people in Germany has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 so far. Nevertheless, the government is already thinking about if – and how – people who’ve received their jabs should receive ‘special privileges’, or at least be able to return to the activities they could easily do before the pandemic.

Under the proposed relaxations, first announced at the weekend, people who are fully vaccinated would no longer have to show a recent negative coronavirus test to enter certain shops, get a haircut or attend certain events.

They would also be exempt from quarantining after returning from abroad, unless they were coming from a country classed as a high-risk virus variant area such as India.

The federal-state discussions on this topic, and Germany’s overall vaccine campaign, are set to take place Monday at 3pm.

What will happen to those who have been vaccinated?

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), vaccinated people are even less likely to spread a Covid-19 infection than those who have received a negative test, due to the lack of reliability with some tests.

It should therefore be “legally required that vaccinated people have the same rights as tested people,” CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

Saxony’s state premier Michael Kretschmer told the Funke media group: “It is self-evident and imperative that people who cannot be carriers of the virus as a result of their vaccination, or only with a very low probability, are not restricted.”

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Kretschmer also called for vaccinations carried out abroad to be recognized in Germany – even if the vaccine in question has not yet been approved in the EU.

The business-friendly liberal Free Democrats (FDP) also welcomed the plans.

“Now that we know that vaccinated people cannot transmit the virus, their basic rights must no longer be restricted,” FDP Secretary General Volker Wissing told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

“The state must have a reason vis-à-vis each individual why it restricts freedoms.”

Vaccinated nursing home residents should be allowed to eat together and have visitors again, said Katrin Göring-Eckardt, chairwoman of the Green Party in the Bundestag, to the Rheinische Post.

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