Fatal corona outbreaks in homes – Union wants PCR tests as the standard
In view of corona outbreaks in nursing homes, the debate about compulsory vaccination is gaining momentum. The Greens, recently open to it in certain professional groups, remain silent. The FDP, on the other hand, has a clear position. And the SPD warns against an “excuse”.
Dhe number of vaccination breakthroughs is increasing, and with it the corona outbreaks in retirement and nursing homes. In Osthofen near Worms (Rhineland-Palatinate), for example, there were more than 100 positive cases in a retirement home with 100 residents in October, including 30 employees. According to the district administration, at least ten of the senior citizens who were consistently double-vaccinated have died. Also in a senior citizens’ residence on Werbellinsee in Brandenburg, 42 residents fell ill and eight people died. 15 employees tested positive.
The situation in the home is “very unfavorable” because only half of the nursing staff have been vaccinated, criticized the Brandenburg medical officer Heike Zander. The Düsseldorf care company Alloheim, as the provider of the facility, defends itself with reference to the lack of mandatory vaccination: You can only inform residents and employees and support them with vaccination appointments, said a spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, the debate about compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups is picking up speed again. The Minister of Social Affairs of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Stefanie Drese (SPD), wants to make vaccination compulsory for nursing staff “legally secure”, she said „Spiegel“. The Federal Association of Municipal Elderly and Disabled Facilities (BKSB) also requires a compulsory vaccination for residents who are newly admitted. A nationwide uniform legal basis must also ensure that only vaccinated visitors are allowed to be allowed in facilities, said association chief Alexander Schraml. Exceptions are people who are not allowed to be vaccinated.
No majority in favor of mandatory vaccination in care
However, there is still little support from the Bundestag for compulsory vaccination. Shortly before the general election, the Greens had drawn up a twelve-point plan on how the vaccination rate could be increased. In the paper he wrote, health politician Janosch Dahmen called, among other things, for “compulsory vaccination for certain professional groups”. But currently the Greens in coalition talks are not commenting on the issue.
Your future coalition partner FDP, on the other hand, is clearly positioning itself. “We reject compulsory vaccination,” said the health policy group spokeswoman, Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus, WELT. However, the most recent outbreaks have clearly shown that vaccination progress needs to be accelerated. “A vaccination booster campaign and additional tests are urgently needed to protect the vulnerable groups in old people’s and nursing homes.”
AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel also rejects an obligation to immunize. “Instead of compulsory vaccinations, we need a policy that puts the citizens’ personal responsibility in the foreground and supports them, for example, by reintroducing free rapid tests.” In retirement homes, tests should also be carried out regardless of the vaccination status, says Weidel.
The previous federal government made up of the Union and the SPD decided in the summer to end the free trial offer on October 11th. Among other things, this should increase the vaccination pressure. In care facilities, however, where visitors and unvaccinated employees are still obliged to test, the costs are usually still borne by the federal government.
That applies at least to tests that are carried out on site. The deputy parliamentary group leader of the CDU / CSU, Stephan Stracke, would like to see a further tightening at this point. “I think it makes sense if, in order to increase safety, the more precise PCR test becomes the standard here instead of the rapid antigen test,” says Stracke. “The federal government should also bear the costs for this.”
The SPD in the Bundestag currently sees no reason for further crackdown at the federal level. “The federal and state health ministers have every opportunity to act at short notice,” said health policy spokeswoman Sabine Dittmar. Since employers have been able to query nurses about the vaccination status, the use in the homes can be effectively regulated. “Additional summits are not absolutely necessary and must not be an excuse to delay decisive action.”
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