Debate in Germany: Plans for compulsory vaccination are becoming more concrete

Status: 05.02.2022 10:07 a.m

In March, the Bundestag is to decide on compulsory vaccination. Now there is also a concrete proposal from deputies of the traffic light parties for a general obligation from the age of 18. World Medical Director Montgomery likes that – but the topic remains hotly debated.

While a general corona vaccination obligation has already come into force in Austria, it remains a point of contention in Germany. The plans are now becoming more concrete in Germany too: Several MPs from the SPD, Greens and FDP have presented in a key issues paper what their idea of ​​compulsory vaccination for all adults over the age of 18 “with permanent residence in Germany” looks like.

It would be fulfilled with three vaccinations and limited to the end of next year. According to the plans, anyone who does not provide proof will face fines, if necessary several times. However, so-called compulsory detention should be avoided.

World medical chief advocates universal vaccination

A good idea, says the chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery. “It seems to me that the application for a general obligation to vaccinate from the age of 18 for a period of two years is the most sensible,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. The sanctions for those who are still unvaccinated are still unclear to him. “There will be no compulsory vaccinations – doctors are not available for that. That’s why the technical quality of the law is important here,” said Montgomery.

The general manager of the Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, also spoke out in favor of a general obligation to vaccinate. “If vaccination is compulsory, then for all adults, not just for the elderly,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. However, compulsory vaccination is only reasonable if it can also be reasonably implemented. “Before that, it must be clarified how the obligation to vaccinate is to be controlled.”

Vaccination obligation “not without alternative”

The virologist Klaus Stöhr, on the other hand, currently considers compulsory vaccination “not expedient”. He advised involving more sociologists and psychologists in order to be able to make targeted vaccination offers with a better knowledge of the vaccine skeptics. Many people who did not get vaccinated are more vaccine skeptics than vaccination opponents, he told the “Fuldaer Zeitung”. “If you know which sections of the population are involved, you can address them specifically.”

In general, compulsory vaccination could be a good way to increase vaccination rates. “But she is not without alternatives,” said Stöhr. He also warned that vaccination would not be mandatory until the end of winter. “It would be too late for this season. With the omicron wave, 40 to 50 percent may gain natural immunity.”

Two more options

In addition to the general obligation to vaccinate, there are currently two other models from the ranks of the MPs. In an application, parliamentarians around the FDP health politician Andrew Ullmann advocate a middle course – they advocate a mandatory professional and personal consultation for all adult unvaccinated people. If the necessary vaccination rate is not achieved after a certain period of time, people over the age of 50 could become mandatory.

A group led by FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki, on the other hand, wants to prevent compulsory vaccination in general. According to Kubicki, the obligation to vaccinate is a “deep encroachment on fundamental rights” with which the current wave of infections cannot be broken anyway. The AfD has also submitted an application against compulsory vaccination. The Union announced that it would also submit its own application for a “flexible” vaccination requirement. It should therefore be limited in time and differentiated according to virus variants.

The possible introduction of compulsory vaccination is expected to be voted on in the Bundestag in March. MEPs should cast their votes without being forced to belong to a parliamentary group and can join cross-party group motions.

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