The contentious politics of vaccines and vaccination in Germany
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
29th International Conference of Europeanists
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Germans have a lot of complaints about the way their government has been handling the COVID-19 pandemic, but from a comparative perspective policies, although disorganized and incoherent in some respects, German Coronavirus policies were informed by public health experts and satisfactory in implementation and effectiveness. The vaccination campaign, by contrast, was fraught with conflict from the beginning, culminating in aimless debates over a vaccine mandate, considerable vaccine wastage, and increasing vaccination hesitancy in the population. This paper analyzes the role of this considerable politicization and polarization both in the political system and in society. It explores the direction of causation in the connection between the politics of contention in the vaccination campaign and its organizational implementation. It asks if the divisive potential of vaccination against COVID-19, and anxieties about compulsory vaccination, have dictated the policies in the country?s vaccination campaign and accounts for their rambling path, or, conversely, if the very indecisiveness of public policies in organizing and incentivizing vaccination, as well as political communication about the vaccination campaign account for the extreme amounts of political polarization of the issue. The paper seeks to answer by tracing the co-evolution and interaction of public policies over time and the public?s responses as well as political mobilization against (compulsory) COVID-19 vaccination.