Vaccination a 'patriotic act' German minister says in urgent appeal
German Health Minister Jens Spahn speaks during a press conference on coronavirus pandemic. Wolfgang Kumm/dpa
German Health Minister Jens Spahn speaks during a press conference on coronavirus pandemic. Wolfgang Kumm/dpa

German Health Minister Jens Spahn issued an urgent appeal on Thursday to all adult Germans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

"Vaccination is a patriotic act," Spahn tweeted, with stocks of vaccine abundant and demand ebbing. "You are not only protecting yourself, but also us as society."

There is strong resistance in some quarters to the vaccine, in particular from the Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement, which has organized demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent.

Bavarian Deputy Premier Hubert Aiwanger has also come in for sharp criticism for his highly public refusal to be vaccinated, citing his right to decide in a free society.

To date, more than 73 per cent of those aged 18 and older have received at least one jab, with surveys showing general willingness to be vaccinated at more than 80 per cent of this population group.

According to the official disease control body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 53.6 per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated by Thursday, corresponding to 44.6 million people.

Vaccinations are currently being administered at the rate of four per second, down from the peak.

A debate is running in Germany about the vaccination of those under 18. Vaccination is permitted for anyone aged 12 and above, but no general recommendation has been issued.