In plea for Germans to get vaccinated, Merkel says deaths are 'avoidable'

In German Chancellor Angela Merkel's last video address to the country before leaving office, she pleaded for Germans to get vaccinated, saying coronavirus deaths are “avoidable.”

“Every one of them leaves behind families or friends, stunned, speechless and helpless,” Merkel said Saturday, The Associated Press reported. “This is so bitter because it is avoidable. With the effective and safe vaccines, we have the key to this in our hands.”

“Get vaccinated, no matter whether it’s a first vaccination or a booster,” she added. “Every vaccination helps.”

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Her plea comes days after Germany announced it would bar unvaccinated citizens from restaurants, shops, bars and other venues.

Only those who are vaccinated or have recently recovered from an infection will be able to enter nonessential places. Unvaccinated individuals will be allowed in essential places such as supermarkets and pharmacies. 

The plan was announced in coordination with Olaf Scholz, who will replace Merkel next week.

“There would be a different situation now if just a few more citizens had also made the decision to get vaccination,” Scholz previously said, according to the AP. 

Germany has 68 percent of its population fully vaccinated and recorded 64,510 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.