The pandemic isn't over, it's not even on the wane.

The incidence is higher than ever, more than 200 men and women die every day with or from Corona.

In Hong Kong and Denmark, where the omicron subvariant BA.2 became dominant earlier than in Germany and masks were dispensed with weeks ago, there are record death rates.

And even if, despite the change in the Infection Protection Act passed on Friday, restrictions are now being relaxed in many places in Germany and spring and summer should perhaps become easier again – autumn and winter will definitely come.

Joachim Müller-Jung

Editor in the feuilleton, responsible for the "Nature and Science" department.

  • Follow I follow

Or as Health Minister Karl Lauterbach put it in the Bundestag on Thursday: The probability that we will not have any difficulties in fighting the corona pandemic in autumn is almost zero percent.

That is almost as likely as not getting an autumn.

Lauterbach said this during the first consultation on five drafts of compulsory vaccination against SARS-CoV-2.

This debate had long been announced and postponed.

Now it's here - and now everything should go very quickly.

In the first week of April, at least that is the goal, the Bundestag will vote.

But none of the drafts has a parliamentary majority yet.

"Disruption" of the traffic light

The reason for this lies in the procedure.

The traffic light government did not want to submit its own law.

Olaf Scholz justified this by saying that compulsory vaccination was "of fundamental importance" and that voting across parliamentary groups had "always contributed to pacifying the political discussion" in the past.

Of course, the Union does not tire of holding up the traffic light, which in its view justifies this approach: the "disunity" in the traffic light regarding Corona.

The drafts for mandatory vaccination do not come from the government with a firm majority, but from the middle of parliament, i.e. from groups of MPs from different parties who work together on the matter, but first have to create majorities.

There are three such groups.

The first wants a general obligation to vaccinate from the age of 18, which will now be passed and should take effect on October 1st.

This motion is supported by more than 230 MPs, including many ministers from the SPD and the Greens.

The second proposal is a predominantly green one, although their frontman is FDP man Andrew Ullmann.

The draft law provides for all unvaccinated people over the age of 18 to be given mandatory advice on vaccination and then to be assessed in the autumn as to whether compulsory vaccination for people over the age of 50 is necessary due to the impending overload of the health system.

More than forty MPs signed this proposal.

Finally, an application against a general obligation to vaccinate with mostly FDP supporters, but none of their ministers – they did not sign any of the drafts.

Bridges and Compromises

While left-wing politicians participate in groups one and three, AfD and Union have refused to go through the group process.

Both submitted their own motions from their parliamentary groups.

However, 197 of a total of 736 members of the Bundestag belong to the Union.

Without their support, or at least their abstention, neither group can really find a simple majority.

And so both vaccination groups are primarily campaigning for the Union and are looking for possible bridges and compromises.