German soldiers could soon be required to get a COVID-19 jab, the defence ministry confirmed to Euronews on Tuesday, amid a debate over vaccine mandates.
Two defence committees recommended that the coronavirus jab be included in a portfolio of mandatory vaccinations for soldiers. The recommendation has yet to be implemented in a regulation.
There were 1,445 COVID-19 cases reported in the Bundeswehr on Tuesday, the ministry said.
“We take the situation very seriously, especially with regard to the current pandemic, and are continuously adapting the hygiene and behavioural measures to current developments,” a spokesman for the ministry told Euronews.
Germany has been reeling from a brutal fourth wave of COVID-19, with 45,326 new coronavirus cases reported on Tuesday and 309 additional deaths.
It brings the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 99,433.
Health Minister Jens Spahn gave a stark warning on Monday that by the end of winter Germans will have “been vaccinated, recovered or died.”
So far around 68% of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated against the virus.
Some in the country are now supporting a vaccine mandate, as neighbouring country Austria has said they will do from February.
An association representing doctors in Berlin released a statement on Tuesday calling for a lockdown of the unvaccinated, a general vaccine mandate and for unvaccinated citizens to share the costs if they end up in hospital.
“The time has come for mandatory vaccination,” KV Berlin said.
But Spahn said that a mandate would not affect the current wave of the virus.
“We are not breaking this wave with mandatory vaccination. It would come much too late for the effect,” he said. “We now have to reduce contacts and act as a unified state.”
Around 52 per cent of Germans polled were in favour and 41 per cent were against a general vaccination requirement, a recent Insa survey for newspaper Bild am Sonntag showed.