In a final video address before stepping down after 16 years as Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel called the coronavirus “treacherous” and its toll “bitter,” and she pleaded with the unvaccinated to get the shots.
“I once again emphatically ask you to take this treacherous virus seriously,” Ms. Merkel said in the last of more than 600 episodes of a video podcast series she began in 2006. “Get vaccinated, whether it’s a first vaccination or a booster. Every shot helps.”
So far, 72 percent of the population in Germany have received one dose of the vaccine, and 69 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the Our World in Data project at Oxford University — a far lower share than many of its neighbors in Western Europe.
Ms. Merkel’s plea followed her announcement on Thursday of a partial lockdown targeted to the unvaccinated. The measures are being implemented as Germany’s cases have shot up and deaths have risen amid a Europe-wide surge, and as nations around the world begin confronting the discovery of the new Omicron variant within their borders.