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"Maybrit Illner" (ZDF): Karl Lauterbach is put through the wringer

The topic of Corona continues to dominate the talk shows. Maybrit Illner talks to her guests in the ZDF talk about compulsory vaccination and the new test strategy.

Berlin – “Again, not together against Corona?” This is how Maybrit Illner introduced her ZDF program on January 27, 2022, which dealt with the two controversial questions of compulsory vaccination and the new test strategy. A clip provided a review of the supply gaps during the corona pandemic: first there were masks, then the vaccine and now PCR tests, which are not available in the required quantities. A table showed that Germany is only 26th in the number of PCR tests performed, while neighboring Austria is at the top. However, you have to keep in mind that Germany is still in the middle of 47 countries in Europe, which was not made clear in the program.

Karl Lauterbach could also be seen in old talk show excerpts, who repeatedly pointed out that quick tests were not reliable enough. The Minister of Health from the SPD, who was also a guest in the studio that evening, quickly corrected: “The tests are by no means that bad.” Lauterbach cited the privately conducted PCR tests as the reason for the small number of PCR tests carried out Laboratories not controlled by the federal government. The rapid tests are useful because they work when you are contagious to other people. The immunologist Carsten Watzl also confirmed this and explained that the test capacities could not be doubled “just like that”. There is little you can do in the current situation, you should have taken other precautions.

Maybrit Illner (ZDF): The guests of the show from January 27, 2022

Karl Lauterbach Federal Minister of Health
Linda Teutenberg FDP politician
Thorsten Frei First Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group
Carsten Watzl Professor of Immunology
Frauke Rostalski Member of the Ethics Council, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Cologne

Illner Talk on ZDF: Karl Lauterbach and Thorsten Frei exchange blows

Thorsten Frei, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Union, and Lauterbach then exchanged blows as to who should have acted differently at what time in order to anticipate the situation and plan accordingly. Frei spoke of “planning security” for the people and Linda Teuteberg (FDP) called for a forward-looking policy that does not have to be corrected by the courts. Lauterbach could clearly see the pressure under which he had to justify his actions. In an effort to refute the arguments of the other side, the health minister got muddled at times, but was still able to give good reasons for his decisions.

Lauterbach was only a little imprecise when it came to the question of how long someone is considered to have recovered. Thorsten Frei complained that by shortening the period from six to three months, people were faced with different facts from one day to the next and were suddenly confronted with restrictions. As a counter-argument, Lauterbach cited the elimination of the quarantine for boosters, which no one complained about either. This is difficult to compare because on the one hand there are restrictions and on the other hand relief. However, the discussion also showed the clumsiness of the debates and the implementation of measures in the corona pandemic. Where initially there was talk of reacting too slowly to the approaching corona wave, quick changes were judged to be unacceptable to the public. In the question of mandatory vaccinations, it also became clear that this was enforced more quickly and easily in other European countries, despite similar concerns.

Frauke Rostalski from the Ethics Council also spoke of the problems in evaluating the obligation to vaccinate: It is about protecting vulnerable people, but she also sees it as problematic to expect even more from the nursing staff, who have done a lot in the last 24 months. Another clip showed that the health authorities also have some doubts about the compulsory vaccination for nursing professions that will apply from March 15, since the vaccinations cannot be checked and a staff shortage due to dismissal is feared.

Compulsory vaccination causes a controversial debate in Maybrit Illner’s ZDF talk

Carsten Watzl described the obligation to vaccinate in care as “absolutely sensible” and said that this does not even go far enough, since the employees there, such as caretakers and cleaning staff, also have to be vaccinated. As a comparison, Maybrit Illner added: “Someone who wants to drive an ICE takes an eye test”. Watzl and Lauterbach then also agreed on the willingness of the nursing staff to be vaccinated: “I am firmly convinced that it is usually not the nursing staff who refuse here,” says Lauterbach. These are “demonstrated” by the “vaccination opponents and lateral thinking”.

Maybrit Illner – The Political Talk on ZDF from January 27, 2022

The program in the ZDF media library

In the discussion about the introduction of a general vaccination requirement at the end of the program, Thorsten Frei questioned its feasibility without a central vaccination register. Illner corrected the CDU politician by stating that this could also be implemented in France. Lauterbach answered Frei: “What’s terrible in Germany: If you don’t want to solve a problem, then you say it’s impossible for this and that reason,” and thus aptly summarized the general inertia in the local organization for fighting the pandemic. (Jendrik Walendy)

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