Düsseldorf, Stuttgart Joachim Kreuzburg is familiar with health issues. The head of the pharmaceutical supplier Sartorius, whose technologies are also used in vaccine production, speaks out in favor of compulsory vaccination against the coronavirus: “With voluntary vaccinations, we obviously do not achieve the necessary vaccination quota of 90 percent.”
The head of the biotech company Qiagen, Thierry Bernard, is also calling for a mandatory vaccination: “All data show that vaccination will significantly reduce the mortality rate and the hospitalization rate.”
In the future, employees in medical professions will be obliged to get vaccinated. Now there are increasing voices to extend the measure to everyone – after the representatives of the people ruled out compulsory vaccination in the summer. Austria was the first country in Europe to oblige all citizens to be vaccinated against Corona.
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Entrepreneurs and managers in Germany consider such a measure to be the right one. Eon boss Leonhard Birnbaum says: “It is becoming increasingly clear that compulsory vaccination as the ultima ratio of a free democracy is a price that we will have to pay if we want to prevent life from being permanently restricted in the next few years.”
Many DAX corporations responded cautiously to the request, as is usual with political issues. But behind closed doors, even there, the voices for a general vaccination requirement are increasing.
Family entrepreneurs take a clear stance
The representatives of the large family businesses are clearer: Martin Herrenknecht, CEO of the tunnel builder of the same name, says: “It’s about more than the freedom of individuals.” Everything points to an emergency, with enormous human losses and severe economic losses. “A higher vaccination rate protects against even more tragic developments.”
According to the head of the logistics specialist Jungheinrich, Lars Brzoska, there is an “urgent need for a vaccination”. He says: “The health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic are reaching a devastating extent, the refusal to vaccinate part of the population is no longer acceptable.”
Michael Prochaska, Chief Human Resources Officer at the chainsaw manufacturer Stihl, is currently observing a higher level of infection in his company than in the first few waves. “With a general compulsory vaccination we would not be in this situation.” To protect the workforce, he therefore advocates mandatory measures “in order to be able to return to a normal life”.
And Ulrich Dietz, founder and supervisory board of the Stuttgart IT company GFT, says: “To avoid a social catastrophe, a general vaccination requirement is inevitable.”
Reinhold von Eben-Worlée, head of the Hamburg chemical company Worlée and president of the family business association, is also in favor of compulsory vaccination: “Our first duty as an entrepreneur is to keep the economy running – and that is only possible with healthy and complete vaccinated employees. ”If people are given the choice between lockdown and mandatory vaccination, the latter is the minor encroachment on freedom.
In the summer, many companies were still against compulsory vaccination
A few months ago it sounded different: “Compulsory vaccination is a serious encroachment on civil liberties,” von Eben-Worlée said in the Handelsblatt at the beginning of August. Like him, Germany’s companies did not press for mandatory vaccination when asked at the time. But the number of infections, which has been rising for weeks, pictures from overburdened hospitals and the renewed shutdown of public life in parts of Germany have led to a rethink.
Consent to a general compulsory vaccination also comes from trade and gastronomy, which have been particularly hard hit by the crisis. A vaccination requirement is the only way to get the pandemic under control in the long term, says Patrick Zahn, head of the textile discounter Kik: “Politicians have been watching for far too long, we have to act now – also for economic reasons.” Even stricter rules such as 2G in retail would lead to a decline in demand.
Stephan von Bülow, head of the Block Group steak house chain, fears further restrictions in the industry and “massive negative economic consequences” without mandatory vaccinations. The state will not be able to permanently compensate for the losses suffered by the companies concerned. ”
Anja Steinhaus-Nafe from the delicatessen specialist Steinhaus in Remscheid adds that politicians cannot afford to be indecisive. “In our situation there is no alternative.”
And Takuma Wohlfahrt, managing director of the Christmas decoration supplier Käthe Wohlfahrt, which is now threatened by the high season again, says: “In order to break the fourth wave quickly and sustainably prevent a fifth wave, it is now almost impossible to avoid compulsory vaccinations.”
Although compulsory vaccination would not reduce the number of infections immediately, it should ensure that the pandemic is permanently combated. Stephan Sturm, head of the health care group Fresenius, says: “In the short term, it would rather help to increase vaccination capacities quickly, address very low-threshold offers to the population and further reduce prejudices against vaccination.”
Should all of this not lead to a significantly higher level of vaccination among the population, “a general compulsory vaccination should also be considered,” said Sturm. “Because we as a society cannot afford an endless loop of autumn 2021, from which vaccinated and unvaccinated people would have to suffer.”
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