Germany will stop paying compensation to unvaccinated workers who are forced into quarantine by coronavirus measures as it is unfair to ask taxpayers to subsidise those who refuse to get inoculated, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday.
The government had been stepping in to pay workers sent into quarantine for at least five days after having contact with an infected person or returning from a “high risk” area abroad.
But that policy will end from November 1, Spahn said after a meeting with the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states, in the latest government initiative to encourage more Germans to take the jab.
Getting vaccinated remained a “personal decision”, Spahn said, but that decision would now “also come with the responsibility to bear the financial consequences”.
“Some people will say this means pressure for the unvaccinated. I think we have to look at it the other way around – it is also a question of fairness,” he said.
Germany has fully vaccinated 74% of adults, compared to 72.3% across the European Union as a whole, official data show.
With the vaccination campaign running out of steam, the debate has been heating up around possible restrictions for the unvaccinated, though compulsory vaccination for parts of the population has so far been ruled out.
Many German states have introduced rules that allow restaurants and other leisure facilities to restrict entry to those who are vaccinated or can show they have recently recovered from the disease.
From October, anyone wanting a rapid negative test as a substitute for proof of vaccination will have to pay for it out of their own pocket – ending a government initiative that had made testing widely available and free to all.
Germany on Wednesday reported 10,454 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and an incidence rate of 65 new infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days.