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Sheep, goats join in German efforts to encourage vaccination

BERLIN (AP) – Tasty bits of bread did the trick for about 700 sheep and goats to join Germany’s drive to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The animals were arranged on Monday into the shape of a roughly 100-metre syringe in a field at Schneverdingen, south of Hamburg.

Shepherd Wiebke Schmidt-Kochan spent several days practicing with her animals, news agency dpa reported.

But she said in the end, it wasn’t difficult to work things out – she laid out pieces of bread in the shape of the syringe, which the sheep and goats gobbled up when they were let out into the field.

Organiser Hanspeter Etzold said the action was aimed at people who are still hesitating to get vaccinated.

“Sheep are such likeable animals – maybe they can get the message over better,” he said.

The German government has made an accelerated vaccination campaign its top priority in attempting to beat back the latest wave of COVID-19 infections.

The percentage of the population that has received at least two shots stood on Monday at 71.2 per cent. Those who have received a booster shot has increased much faster in recent weeks and now stands at 38.9 per cent of the population.

Health Ministry spokesman Andreas Deffner said on Monday that the public debate over vaccinations in recent weeks appeared to have prompted some holdouts to change their mind.

Authorities in Germany have recently closed or put restrictions on establishments to slow Omicron variant’s spread.

Sheep and goats stand together in Schneverdingen, as they form an approximately 100 metres large syringe to promote vaccinations against COVID-19. PHOTO: AP
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