Baden-Württemberg considers fines for vaccine appointment no-shows
The state of Baden-Württemberg is toying with the idea of imposing fines on individuals who fail to show up for coronavirus vaccine appointments, according to a media report.
One German state could fine vaccine no-shows
State authorities in Baden-Württemberg are considering making it a criminal offence to not attend an agreed-upon appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Berlin Tagesspiegel has reported.
According to the report, the Ministry of Health in Stuttgart wants the responsible person to bear the costs if the vaccination dose goes to waste because they failed to cancel their appointment. Currently, all COVID vaccinations in Germany are paid for by statutory health insurance. The state would first have to put into action the necessary legislation to create a legal basis for handing out fines.
Federal government against financial sanctions
For this reason, most other federal states in Germany have said they will not penalise those who fail to show up for appointments. The federal government also recently said it was not intending to introduce financial sanctions for no-shows. “We want to motivate and not deter,” a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Health said.
Government spokesperson Steffan Seibert said that the whole range of easings for fully-vaccinated people should act as a significant encouragement to people to get themselves jabbed. At the same time, he made an “urgent appeal” to people who could not make their appointments to cancel so that the slot could be used by somebody else.
Vaccine supply now outweighs demand in Germany
The debate over penalties for missed vaccination appointments was sparked after it emerged last week that the supply of vaccines in Germany outweighed the demand for the first time since the beginning of the rollout in December last year.
The head of the Red Cross in Berlin, Mario Czaja, said that 5 to 10 percent of appointments in the capital were now not being kept, and proposed fines of 25 to 30 euros for missed slots. This position was backed by SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach, who told Bild am Sonntag, “It would be right if there were a penalty for those who don’t even cancel their appointment.”
Angela Merkel said on Monday that the vaccination rate in Germany needed to reach 80 percent to protect the population against the highly-transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, while Seibert added that the vaccination rate was one of the decisive factors for loosening restrictions in the federal republic.
As of July 5, 56,8 percent of the German population have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccination, while 39,3 percent are fully vaccinated.