A general vaccination requirement is being discussed more and more vehemently. The most important facts and voices on the scientific, legal and social situation.
Berlin – “We are offering a vaccination, relying on voluntariness and common sense.” This sentence by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn is a good year old.
Alone: Up to now no adequate vaccination quota has been achieved in Germany with voluntary participation. The situation is now extremely critical – and a general vaccination requirement seems increasingly likely.
Why is the call getting louder and louder afterwards?
The relatively high proportion of unvaccinated people is creating a precarious situation in this fourth corona wave. Intensive care units in Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia and in some metropolitan areas are already overloaded. “At least 90 percent of the people in this country must have immunity in order to be able to control it properly,” explained the President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler. According to the RKI, 68.6 percent of the total population currently have basic immunization through vaccination (double vaccination). So far, 12.5 percent have received a booster.
What does science think of duty?
“There is really no one who would like to have a mandatory vaccination,” said RKI President Wieler in a ZDF interview last week. He was referring to a paper from the World Health Organization (WHO): If you’ve tried everything else, you have to think about compulsory vaccination. In its April statement, the WHO emphasized that politics must convey the benefits of vaccination in order to promote acceptance and voluntariness. A general compulsory vaccination can only be the last resort and must be ethically carefully weighed.
Would a general compulsory vaccination be constitutionally possible?
Yes. Constitutional lawyers see them as legally possible, and the federal government has the legislative competence for this. Its competence arises from Article 74 of the Basic Law (GG): it can enact laws for measures against “publicly dangerous and communicable diseases”.
“Proportionality is the legal key to implementing mandatory vaccination in accordance with the Basic Law,” said administrative lawyer Arne Pautsch from the University of Public Administration and Finance in Ludwigsburg a few days ago in the “Bietigheimer Zeitung”. A compulsory vaccination should not be equated with a compulsory vaccination. Through a legal obligation, one sets a commandment, “which is at the same time an expression of a social obligation to protect the life and health of everyone,” said Pautsch.
However, there are also voices who believe that milder measures have not yet been exhausted and that a general vaccination requirement is currently disproportionate.
How is the mood in the population?
A clear majority now wants duty. At the end of November, according to the ZDF Politbarometer, more than two thirds of those eligible to vote were in favor (July: one third). A recent survey by the polling institute YouGov confirms this number.
And what is the state of the political debate?
A compulsory vaccination for certain areas will almost certainly come – for employees in nursing homes and clinics, for example. She is also in discussion for daycare centers. In politics there are increasing voices calling for a general vaccination requirement. On Tuesday, Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz pleaded for it. For the vote in the Bundestag, the parliamentary group should be lifted, said the SPD politician.
The Greens chairman Robert Habeck is also open to a general vaccination requirement. However, he pointed out in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” that it was already too late to break the current wave – even if it came immediately.
There are votes for and against from the ranks of the FDP if the Bundestag should vote on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination without a parliamentary party, said the previous parliamentary deputy Stephan Thomae on Wednesday of the German Press Agency (dpa). How many there are in each case cannot yet be estimated. Because that also depends on the specific design of the draft.
Leading CDU politicians had expressed skepticism about a mandatory vaccination in the past. The legal and consumer policy spokesman for the Union parliamentary group, Jan-Marco Luczak, said on Tuesday in view of the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court: Even with the question of a general obligation to vaccinate, the freedom of the unvaccinated should not be absolute.
The AfD parliamentary group leader Tino Chrupalla assumes that no member of his parliamentary group will vote for a general vaccination requirement. He was expecting a “one hundred percent” rejection, he told the dpa on Wednesday.
How could compulsory vaccination be implemented in practice?
So far, there have hardly been any concrete answers. It is undisputed that it is about a duty, not a compulsion. “If it came to a general compulsory vaccination, there would be a broad consensus among constitutional lawyers that it would not be permissible to force people to vaccinate,” said Federal Justice Minister-designate Marco Buschmann (FDP) to the editorial network Germany. A fine or health insurance protection measures are conceivable for those who refuse to be vaccinated.
How are other European countries approaching the issue?
Austria is considered a European pioneer, where the government announced a corresponding regulation in mid-November. So far, however, it is only known that the general compulsory vaccination will come into force in February, that at least primary school children will be exempted from it and that violations will result in administrative penalties.
In France, given the high vaccination rate, there is currently no discussion about a general vaccination requirement. The Covid vaccination has been mandatory for around 2.7 million employees there since mid-September, especially in the health sector.
The Italian government decided at the end of November to extend the compulsory corona vaccination. So far, it has applied to the workforce in hospitals as well as in old people’s and nursing homes. From December 15, staff in schools, the police, emergency services and the military must also be vaccinated. Anyone who does not adhere to the mandatory vaccination will be suspended from duty. In addition, there are fines of 600 to 1500 euros.
At the beginning of July, Greece made vaccination compulsory for employees in health and care. Unvaccinated employees have been released from work without pay since September. From January 16, 2022, people over 60 are also required to be vaccinated.Unvaccinated people will then have to pay a fine of 100 euros per month. The government’s argument: The elderly are particularly at risk from Covid-19.
What effects can compulsory vaccination have on previously unvaccinated people?
It could change the attitude of anti-vaccination opponents, says the Marburg social psychologist Ulrich Wagner. Part of the population has walled itself in with the belief that it will not be vaccinated. In this “bubble” this opinion is constantly being reinforced and reinforced. Compulsory vaccination would bring a new argument into play – both for one’s own convictions and for the group.
The head of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at Bielefeld University, Andreas Zick, sees the danger of further radicalization among those who oppose vaccination – and a dwindling understanding for this. There is a milieu that “can no longer be persuaded by any arguments,” he told the TV broadcaster Phoenix. It is not yet known exactly to what extent these groups are forming a new extremism.
There is a compulsory vaccination for measles – what about that?
It has been in effect for certain groups since March 1, 2020. When starting daycare or school, the parents must prove that the offspring is vaccinated or already immune. Daycare centers are not allowed to accept unvaccinated children. Schools are not allowed to exclude children, but fines of up to 2500 euros can be imposed on the parents.
The measles vaccination also applies to educators, teachers and child minders if they were born after 1970; Elderly are classified as immune. Before the introduction of compulsory vaccination, according to the RKI, 97 percent of the school entry examinations were vaccinated once and 93 percent twice against measles.
Have there already been other compulsory vaccinations?
Yes. In the Federal Republic of Germany there was a compulsory vaccination for diphtheria and partially scarlet fever (until 1954) as well as one for smallpox. The latter was gradually lifted by 1983. In the German Empire, the vaccination certificate had to be presented to her when she started school.
In the GDR, various vaccinations were mandatory for children and adolescents over time, for example against tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and measles. dpa
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