Healthcare personnel: what speaks for and against compulsory vaccination


Status: 10.12.2021 6:00 a.m.

Today the Bundestag votes on compulsory corona vaccination in the health sector. What speaks for it and what against it? What do those affected say? Answers to important questions.

Why should vaccination be compulsory for certain areas?

Im Bill it states that the staff in health professions have “a special responsibility” because they have “intensive and close contact with groups of people with a high risk of infection for a serious or fatal course of the disease”. A high vaccination rate is essential there – also against the background that many people have an increased need for support and care and can only influence their contacts with difficulty.

There were always a particularly large number of corona deaths in nursing homes. The debate about compulsory vaccination in the healthcare system was recently fueled by corona outbreaks in nursing homes in Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt. Numerous residents died. In both cases, a large proportion of the nurses appeared to be unvaccinated.

Which areas should it be about?

According to the draft law, all those who work in hospitals, old people’s and nursing homes must be vaccinated or recovered to protect particularly vulnerable groups. The obligation also applies to facilities in which people with disabilities are cared for. Day clinics, medical practices, emergency services and socio-educational centers are also covered by the regulation.

For existing employment relationships concluded until March 15, 2022, the evidence must be submitted by this date. The recruitment of staff who have neither been vaccinated nor recovered would then no longer be possible. There is only an exception to the compulsory vaccination for those for whom this is not possible for medical reasons – if a corresponding certificate is presented.

What is the vaccination rate of the staff?

There are no precise figures on this. According to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) the vaccination quota for staff in care facilities was 88.8 percent, for medical staff 90.2 percent (survey period 15.09. to 18.10.). The draft law also names lower vaccination rates (82 percent) for RKI monitoring in 165 non-representative nursing homes. Eight nursing homes for the elderly had a vaccination quota of all employees below 50 percent. For comparison: Overall, around 80 percent of people over the age of 18 in Germany are currently fully vaccinated.

The President of the German Nursing Council, Christina Vogler, said the vaccination rates among nurses were already high. In the hospitals, 90 to 94 percent of them are vaccinated against Corona, and there are indications of a similar magnitude for the nursing homes. The German Foundation for Patient Protection, on the other hand, criticizes the nursing staff’s insufficient willingness to vaccinate. At least 80 percent should be vaccinated. But this is not the case.

What do the professional groups concerned say?

The medical union Marburger Bund recently called for the introduction of a job-related Covid-19 vaccination for people who work in medical facilities, old people’s and nursing homes, schools and day-care centers.

The President of the German Nursing Council, Vogler, spoke out against compulsory corona vaccination only for nurses. Instead of targeting specific professional groups, an “institution-related” approach must be used. Cleaning and kitchen staff as well as relatives have contact with the particularly vulnerable residents.

What are the arguments against compulsory vaccination?

The German Nursing Council warns of additional frustration in this professional group. The President of the German Caritas Association, Eva Maria Welskop-Deffaa, also emphasized that it is extremely important that nurses do not have the feeling that the vaccination requirement is only directed at them, while larger parts of the population still do not want to be vaccinated.

The German Foundation for Patient Protection warned against staff evacuation. If, as reported from Great Britain, ten percent of elderly care workers fail to be vaccinated, between 100,000 and 120,000 employees could no longer be employed in elderly care. Board member Eugen Brysch also emphasized that compulsory vaccination would only bring improvements in the medium term.

What does the Ethics Council say about the planned mandatory vaccination?

In mid-November, the German Ethics Council advocated the swift examination of a job-related compulsory vaccination in areas in which particularly vulnerable people are cared for. This also includes employees in social services, everyday support or housekeeping.

After initial skepticism, the federal government’s representative for care, Andreas Westerfellhaus, also pleaded for mandatory vaccination for employees in the health sector. In addition, he called for a central recording of vaccination numbers.

Is there a new compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups?

In France, vaccination has been mandatory for employees of hospitals, old people’s or nursing homes, nursing services as well as employees of rescue services and fire brigade since mid-September. According to the Ministry of Health in October, the majority of the approximately 2.7 million employees adhered to the target, but around 15,000 employees have since been suspended without continued pay. In Italy, Great Britain and Greece, corona vaccination has been mandatory for health care workers for a long time.

In Germany there is also already compulsory vaccination: The measles protection law, which came into force in March 2020, obliges employees in medical practices, nursing services, refugee accommodation and clinics to have vaccination protection. Before being admitted to a daycare center or school, parents must prove that their child has been vaccinated against measles or is already immune.

Is there also a general compulsory vaccination?

The federal and state governments have decided that the Bundestag should decide “promptly” on a general vaccination requirement. It can only take effect as soon as it can be ensured that everyone to be vaccinated can also be vaccinated, i.e. from around February 2022. The federal and state governments ask the Ethics Council to draw up a recommendation on this by the end of the year.

How is the mood in the population?

In the current ARD Germany Trend 71 percent of Germans said they should introduce a general compulsory corona vaccination for adults. That is 14 points more than in the previous month. A general compulsory vaccination is popular among all party supporters with the exception of the AfD. Interior ministers and the protection of the constitution are warning of a further escalation of the protests against the corona measures in the event of a general compulsory vaccination.

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