As the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic sweeps over Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on Thursday that those who have not been vaccinated must recognize that they owe it to the rest of society to safeguard others.
Merkel said it was on to governments to make the case for major interventions by being honest with the public, addressing at an Asia-Pacific business summit at the invitation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Coronavirus case counts have risen sharply in recent weeks across Europe, prompting fears that health services may be overwhelmed once more, in part because unvaccinated people are still transmitting the disease to the elderly and fragile.
“We must make it clear that I have the right to get vaccinated, and that is a tremendous fortune, a big scientific and technological success,” Merkel said through video link. “However, I also have a responsibility to contribute to society’s protection.”
While many unvaccinated persons are in age ranges where COVID-19 infections are statistically less severe, they can spread the virus on to older people with weakened immune systems, who can end up in critical care even after vaccination.
Merkel, who was being questioned by Microsoft CEO Brad Smith, noted that the pandemic’s and climate change’s issues were comparable in that they were both exponential processes whose severity was difficult to recognize at the outset of a growth curve.
“When you detect the beginning of an exponential growth, you have to respond quickly,” Merkel said, adding that “an knowledge of what exponential implies isn’t widely held in our cultures.”
“That’s also why we’ve been so worried about climate change – it, too, has exponential growth, and we have to act at a time when the figures aren’t clear.”