Germany’s Covid and Election Struggles

By Madeleine Stiffler

Only a few months after electing their new chancellor Olaf Scholz, Germany is faced with the biggest challenge most countries have faced for the past two years: Covid-19. Despite appropriately handling the pandemic at the start and at its peak, the nation has seen an incredibly rapid increase in Covid cases and deaths. As a result of having only a small number of citizens vaccinated, Germany has returned to the quarantine lifestyle. 

Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s newly appointed health minister, has his work cut out for him as the Omicron variant and misinformation spread throughout the country. Covid statistics are once again hitting record highs and around one million people have been infected. Mr. Lauterbach has been an incredibly prominent voice in Germany regarding the severeness of Covid and the importance of vaccination.. Despite the horrors of rapidly increasing cases, German hospitals have still declared that there is no need for lockdowns to be reinstated as they are not yet “overwhelmed.” Although the Covid vaccine is compulsory in German hospitals and nursing homes, citizens are still catching Covid at alarming rates. To add, on December 12, 2021 nearly two thousand people gathered in Mannheim to protest Covid restrictions which resulted in six police officers being injured.

As a matter of fact, critics are calling on Germany’s vaccine advisory panel to overhaul how they evaluate Covid vaccines. The panel consists of 18 appointees known as STIKO who recommended vaccinations for a limited number of children, including those at risk of developing a severe case of Covid, but fell short of a blanket recommendation for those aged five to eleven. With limited approval and STIKO taking weeks to fall into line with Germany’s regional health ministers, a debate over whether the expert panel needs to be reorganized to speed up decisions to keep up with the pace of the coronavirus has arisen. 

With convoluted leadership, restless citizens, and skyrocketing numbers of Covid cases and mortality rates, it is unclear whether or not Germany will be able to get a grip on the pandemic. Unfortunately, the end of the pandemic does not seem to be in sight yet for most countries as the battle to increase vaccination rates remains prevalent, and especially with the Omicron variant spreading rapidly.