More than 68,700 people in Germany have died from or with coronavirus since the pandemic began a year ago. Yet many people in the country take a critical view of vaccinations, according to a new study.
People at a vaccination centre in Hanover, Lower Saxony, at the start of February. Photo: DPA
In the survey commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, lots of respondents also said they had reservations against coronavirus restrictions in general over concerns about personal freedom.
A third of participants said they "somewhat" or "completely" rejected interventions in civil liberties to fight the pandemic.
And 34 percent said they do not want to be vaccinated at all, according to the representative survey. The remaining 66 percent are willing to receive a Covid vaccine.
The Norstat Institute interviewed more than 1,000 adults at the end of 2020 for the poll. According to the Gütersloh-based Bertelsmann Foundation, the rejection of vaccination and restrictions on freedom is above average among people who are particularly performance and success-oriented.
Yasemin El-Menouar, co-author of the study called Between Individual Freedom and the Common Good, said that the coronavirus crisis exacerbates conflicts of values already bubbling under the surface in society.
Willingness to vaccinate fluctuates
However, it is difficult to say exactly how high the willingness to be inoculated against coronavirus in Germany really is. That's because current developments in politics and science influence the opinion of those surveyed.
A recent survey by Spiegel on the topic found a significantly higher willingness of people in Germany to be vaccinated: 74 percent. However, the poll also showed that many people attach importance to a vaccine of their choice. The vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer received the highest approval rating.
As The Local has been reporting, some people scheduled to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is said to have a lower efficacy than other vaccines available in Germany have been cancelling their appointments, leaving the jab on the shelves.
The study also looked at the social impact of the pandemic. About 45 percent of the respondents said the crisis could also have positive effects - in terms of climate protection and social interaction.
And 82 percent agreed with the statement that the pandemic demonstrates "the need of far-reaching change in society".
According to El-Menouar, politicians should make it clearer that individual freedoms are still of huge importance for society. And that restrictive measures are limited in time with the goal of being able to "lead a free and self-determined life again as quickly as possible".
Currently, the Robert Koch Institute has been reporting a stagnating number of new infections instead of declining figures as we've seen since the peak at Christmas.
Figures released by the RKI on Wednesday show Germany reported 8,007 new Covid-19 infections and 422 deaths within 24 hours. Exactly a week ago, the RKI had recorded 7,556 new infections and 560 new deaths within one day.
The nationwide average number of cases per 100,000 people in seven days stood at 59.3, slightly lower than the previous day.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the RKI has registered 2,402,818 cases. The total number is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections are not detected. The total number of people who have died from or with Covid-19 now stands at 68,740.