Germany’s incoming chancellor calls for mandatory vaccinations

Olaf Scholz of the German Social Democrats (SPD) speaks under the word "alliance" to the media while he and leaders of the German Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens Party presented their mutually-agreed on coalition contract on Nov. 24, 2021, in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images/TNS)
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Birgit Jennen and Patrick Donahue Bloomberg News (TNS)

Germany’s incoming chancellor threw his support behind mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as European leaders take a tougher line in a bid to check a brutal surge in infections.

During a video conference on Tuesday, Olaf Scholz told outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers that he would support a broad requirement to get shots, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

The move would be a departure after German leaders vowed for months that inoculations would be a personal choice and that it would be up to citizens to decide if they wanted to take up the offer. The soft tone may have contributed to the country’s relatively low vaccination rate of less than 70%.

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Scholz, Merkel and the heads of Germany’s 16 states are discussing potential curbs, including restrictions on fans at soccer games and closing bars and clubs in hard-hit areas.

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