German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that people have a duty to get vaccinated against the coronavirus to protect others.
She spoke as Germany grapples with a new surge of infections, which reached a record daily high of 50,000 on Thursday.
Angela Merkel talked for 30 minutes with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a free-ranging virtual discussion on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. New Zealand is hosting APEC and although Germany is not a member, Ardern said she’s long admired Merkel, who will soon leave office.
Chancellor Merkel said that this virus is very, very tough. She said it was an enormous scientific achievement to produce vaccines within a year of the outbreak, but that officials still weren’t reaching a group of unvaccinated people.
Merkel said you have the right to get vaccinated. But, to a certain extent, you also, as a member of society, have the duty to be vaccinated to protect yourself and to protect others.
About two-thirds of Germany’s 83 million people are fully vaccinated but the nation has resisted making vaccinations mandatory for certain workers. Lawmakers are considering new measures in the face of the latest surge.
During their discussion, both Merkel and Ardern expressed their frustration with the rise of disinformation on social media.
“In the old days, we had certain events that happened in our society. Television reported about it and the next day everyone talked about it,” Merkel said. “Today, everyone participates in his or her own social media. You only engage in a bubble that you meet on the internet.”