Germany’s low vaccination rates due to conspiracy theories, cultural factors

Berlin, Dec 3 (EFE).- Despite authorities urging citizens to get vaccinated amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, vaccination rates are stagnating in German-speaking countries.

Experts are blaming the low vaccination rates on people’s belief in alternative medicine, the individualistic culture and the spread of conspiracy theories throughout Germanic countries.

Vaccination rates in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – 68.6, 66.9 and 65.67% respectively – are the lowest in Western Europe, a contrast with countries such as Spain and Portugal where nearly 80% of the population are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

According to a survey by the German ministry of health, 65% of people in Germany who had not been vaccinated by the end of October said they would refuse to do so in the near future.

Between 8 to 10% of people distrust the vaccine because they believe in alternative medicine and have homeopathic and anthroposophic beliefs, according to Andreas Grünschloss, professor of religious studies at the University of Göttingen.

The refusal of vaccination is also of “political-ideological nature”, according to Grünschloss, who found that 50% of unvaccinated people are supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who have spoken against the vaccine.

Additionally, Germanic countries have an individualistic culture, according to Tobias Spöri, a researcher at the University of Vienna.

“They place a high value on their individual rights and tend to reject solidarity with others,” Spöri told Efe.

The professor also believes Germanic countries were less affected by the first wave of the pandemic resulting in “fewer values of solidarity and lack of concrete experience with the pandemic.”

Conspiracy theories are another reason why many Germans are refusing to get vaccinated.

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