BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers yesterday rejected a bill requiring everyone 60 and over in the country to be vaccinated against the coronavirus — a compromise solution the government had hoped would secure a parliamentary majority.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his health minister initially called for a vaccination mandate to apply to all adults in Germany, but some government lawmakers and most of the opposition balked at the idea.
The vote sparked joy from anti-vaccine activists, who staged a march through Berlin’s government district beating drums, blowing horns and waving banners with slogans such as “We are the red line” or just “No”.
The bill was introduced by an all-party group after months of haggling. He was considering requiring older people to get vaccinated, but for there to be mandatory advice for all adults to help them weigh the benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccination.
In the end, 378 lawmakers voted against the bill, 296 were in favor and nine abstained.
Germany has handled the pandemic well compared to some of its European neighbors, with fewer deaths per capita than Italy, France, Britain or Sweden.
Social Democrat lawmaker Dagmar Schmidt, who introduced the compromise bill, noted that the number of infections has been falling lately.
Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases have fallen in recent weeks, from a peak of around 300,000 a day to just over 200,000 in the past 24 hours.
There were 328 COVID-19 related deaths reported yesterday, according to Germany’s disease control agency.
But Schmidt said there was a need to prepare for a further rise in cases and a possible new variant emerging later this year.