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A German doctor sparked controversy over the weekend when he said that people who refuse the coronavirus vaccine should be denied access to emergency measures should they become ill.
Wolfram Henn, a human geneticist and member of the Ethics Council, revealed his stance during an interview over the weekend where he took the stark and controversial stance.
"Whoever wants to refuse the vaccination outright, he should, please also always carry a document with the inscription: 'I don't want to be vaccinated!'" Henn told Bild on Saturday.
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"I want to leave the protection against the disease to others! I want, if I get sick, to leave my intensive care bed and ventilator to others."
Germany is home to Pfizer-BioNTech, which produced the first widely approved COVID-19 vaccine. The nation is under a strict lockdown that started Dec. 16 and will last until Jan. 10.
The country has seen a huge surge of cases, recording over 30,000 new cases in a single-day period last week.
Even with such catastrophic numbers, some 40% of Germans plan to "wait and see" about the vaccine, with 11% outright saying they won’t take it, according to an RTL/NTV poll.
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Some officials point to fringe elements in the country, who have protested any lockdown measures or restrictions over the course of the year.
"I urgently recommend that these alarmists go to the nearest hospital and present their conspiracy theories to the doctors and nurses who have just come from the overcrowded intensive care unit completely exhausted," Henn said.
Henn’s interview has already caused a stir across German social media.
In an op-ed for Zeit, Johannes Schneider writes, "One can already sense the even more pointed questions in next week's political columns: Should the stupid really die now? Or also: Will conspiracy soon be followed by the death penalty?"
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Others, however, share a similar – though less extreme – view to Henn, with Michael Hüther of the Institute of German Economics saying that people who refuse the vaccine are showing "a partial departure from the principle of solidarity."
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