German lawmakers are considering a potential COVID-19 vaccine mandate amid the country’s latest surge of the virus, The Associated Press reported.
A final decision on the vaccine mandate in Germany is not expected for weeks to come, but thus far the measure has garnered opposition. Opponents have suggested that the vaccine should be mandatory for people over the age of 50, while others are opposed to the mandate as a whole, according to AP.
The country has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks. Some 294,931 cases have been reported in Germany in the last 24 hours, according to the country’s disease control agency, the news outlet notes.
However, German officials have pushed for an end to coronavirus-related restrictions and currently, they are set to expire at the end of this week.
After Sunday, the federal government will allow states to make their own decisions on COVID-19 mitigation measures, according to the wire service.
“It’s a step toward normality and I say that’s what we need,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner said, according to the AP.
Germany’s mulling of a vaccine mandate comes as neighboring country, Austria, recently announced a pause on its controversial, nationwide vaccine mandate, which was set to be enacted in mid-March, according to ABC News.
However, the county noted that a vaccine mandate may be needed in the future, should a severe variant of concern emerge.
“I don’t think I need a crystal ball to tell you that today’s isn’t the last chapter we will write regarding the vaccination mandate,” Karoline Edtstadtler, the minister responsible for constitutional matters, said to ABC.
Austria enacted the mandate amid low vaccinations rates in comparison to the rest of Western Europe — 70 percent were fully vaccinated, and 54 percent were , ABC reports.
In contrast, according to data from The New York Times, the United States has a 65 percent vaccination rate and 29 percent boosted rate.