“I expect an additional vaccination jolt in society because we can now offer children significantly more protection and security through vaccination,” he added. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, 2.4 million vaccine doses of the product will be available to Germany from December 20.
The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) should not wait until then. “The data that Stiko uses is there – the experts in the USA and Israel also used it,” said Lucha. “I therefore think that the Stiko decision should be made soon. We must now send the clear message that child vaccination will provide effective protection. We will build our campaign on this. “
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Lucha also demanded speed from the possible traffic light government with a compulsory vaccination. “Personally, I am one of those people who even want to skip a job-related vaccination requirement,” he said. “Many employees in nursing tell me that they perceive the job-related vaccination requirement as discriminatory – and demand that it be quickly and consistently extended to the general public.”
Read the whole interview here:
Mr Lucha, more than 100,000 people have died of corona infections in Germany, and the numbers are increasing. How could this happen?
Unfortunately, the vaccination quota is currently not sufficient to break the fourth wave. There are mostly unvaccinated people in the intensive care units – that is, people who do not have to lie there. Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, this is the way out of the pandemic.
This knowledge has been around since the beginning of the corona crisis, but it does not seem to ignite.
We had to destroy the vaccine until September because the citizens did not take advantage of the offers. There was a yawning emptiness in the vaccination centers. As a result of the tightening measures that have been decided – especially for those who have not been vaccinated – significantly more people are now opting for a vaccination again. Our mobile vaccination teams and resident doctors alone vaccinated almost 88,000 people across the country on Wednesday.
The booster vaccinations also got off to a slow start in the federal states. Why?
Science – for example Professor Christian Drosten – told us in the summer that no nationwide booster vaccinations would be necessary in autumn. It was only in October that studies from Israel suggested the opposite to us. In Baden-Württemberg, we made offers for booster vaccinations very early on. One lesson from the pandemic is that the much invoked self-responsibility of citizens sometimes needs stronger and stricter external rules. For a state based on freedom, this is not a very easy but unfortunately necessary insight.
The EU Medicines Agency has approved Biontech’s vaccine for children. What has to be done so that at least this age group is vaccinated quickly and efficiently?
I expect an additional vaccination pressure in society through the approval, because we can now offer children significantly more protection and safety through vaccination. In Baden-Württemberg we will found an alliance for children vaccinating this week. This means that by the time the vaccine is delivered on December 20th, we will be able to use all our resources to actually vaccinate as many children as possible quickly. We involve paediatricians and we also use the existing structures of vaccination teams, vaccination centers and general practitioners. I don’t want to wait until the New Year to vaccinate children, I want to start immediately when the vaccine is available.
Would you like Tempo from Stiko to recommend the vaccine by December 20th at the latest?
Yes. Stiko shouldn’t wait until December 20th to make a decision. It is not as if the data for such a decision are not available. The data that Stiko uses is there – the experts in the USA and Israel also used it. I therefore think that the Stiko decision should be made soon. We must now send the clear message that child vaccination will provide effective protection. We will build our campaign on this.
The federal-state crisis team announced by the traffic lights should take ten days to decide on more stringent measures. Do you think it is justifiable to wait that long?
There is no waiting. We are in constant contact with the specialist politicians in Berlin and feed our concerns into the traffic light government that is being formed on a daily basis. Baden-Württemberg de facto decided on a lockdown for unvaccinated people on Wednesday. If the measures are not sufficient, we can tighten them up until December 15, after which the new Infection Protection Act no longer allows us.
We then have to see whether we can break the fourth wave and flatten the trend of increasing numbers of infections. I hope that in two weeks’ time we will see an effect of our restrictive measures on the infection rate and thus indirectly on the situation in hospitals. If this effect is not big enough to initiate a trend reversal by the end of the year, I believe that a legal reassessment of the Infection Protection Act is needed. Then it is important to assess whether stricter measures are not still necessary.
And can you rule out measures such as a lockdown of businesses or even schools?
Nothing can be ruled out in a pandemic. But we have a clear goal that we want to avoid these measures. We can initiate the trend reversal by December 15th. That’s what it’s about.
The Ampelkoalition would like to take its time with the job-related vaccination until December. What speaks against implementing it immediately?
When it comes to compulsory job-related vaccinations, I would really like the traffic light government that is being formed to accelerate the pace. Personally, I am one of those people who even want to skip a job-related vaccination requirement. Many nursing staff tell me that they perceive the job-related compulsory vaccination as discriminatory – and demand that it be expanded quickly and consistently to the general public. I am glad that this debate is taking place now.
What do you hope for from the traffic lights, especially from the FDP?
I also hear voices from the FDP who are open to such a measure. And I now consider it the task of Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz to get the FDP on board on this difficult question. I hope the Liberals can still be won over here.
Mr. Lucha, thank you very much for the interview.
More: Is compulsory vaccination legally permissible?