Germany – Lawyers: Compulsory vaccinations are compatible with Basic Law

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Supporters of compulsory coronavirus vaccinations now have the backing of legal experts.

Berlin (dpa) – Supporters of compulsory coronavirus vaccinations now have the backing of legal experts. Renowned lawyers believe them to be compatible with Germany’s Basic Law. In the view of constitutional lawyer Ulrich Battis, compulsory vaccinations would be covered by the Basic Law. “This kind of universal obligation to be vaccinated is perfectly justifiable – in order to protect the lives of others,” the legal expert from Berlin’s Humboldt University told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Battis referred to Article 2 of the Basic Law, in which protection of other people’s lives is enshrined. “The basic right to physical integrity, which Article 2 also stipulates, has to take a back seat to this.”

Saarbrücken pharmacy professor Thorsten Lehr told “RTL direkt” that there was no alternative but to introduce compulsory vaccinations next spring. This could change the situation “abruptly”. “Compulsory vaccinations would place the end of the pandemic in our hands.” Administrative law expert Hinnerk Wißmann from the University of Münster told the “Welt” that compulsory vaccination is the more moderate solution “if the alternative is to abolish the free state in endless series of lockdowns”. Uwe Volkmann, professor of public law at Goethe University in Frankfurt, said the “degree of intervention” would be less pronounced than “the severe restrictions on freedom that would otherwise be necessary”.

Bielefeld law professor Franz C. Mayer told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND/Tuesday): “The freedom of the individual ends when this jeopardises the freedom and health of others – which is the case if the vaccination campaign does not succeed.” Mayer made it clear that the issue was about making vaccinations compulsory, not about forcing people to get vaccinated. For those who refuse the vaccination, a fine or legal regulations involving the loss of health insurance coverage are conceivable, he said.

Stricter coronavirus rules in force

The number of coronavirus infections is rising rapidly in Germany. Stricter rules now apply in many places. New regulations have also been introduced for workplaces and public transport.

In view of the massive rise in coronavirus infections, new measures have come into force in many parts of Germany. In several federal states, only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid will be allowed access to many places from Wednesday. In addition, an amended Infection Protection Act will be coming into force that provides for stricter rules at the workplace and in buses and trains.

The new rules in many federal states will mainly affect the unvaccinated, though stricter regulations will also apply in some cases to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, even vaccinated and recovered persons will be required to present a current negative test in discotheques, clubs or at carnival parties. Similar regulations apply in Baden-Württemberg. In addition, unvaccinated people in coronavirus hotspots will only be allowed outside at night with a valid reason in future and will also no longer have access to most shops – this does not apply to essential supplies such as food.

In Bavaria, unvaccinated people are only allowed to meet with a small number of other people. Clubs and bars have to close, and restaurants are only permitted to stay open until 10pm. Christmas markets have been cancelled. A maximum of 25 percent of spectators is allowed at cultural and sporting events. In hotspots with a seven-day incidence of more than 1,000, restaurants, hotels, sports and cultural venues must close.

Under the new Infection Protection Act, only employees who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid or show a negative test will be allowed to access their workplaces nationwide from Wednesday. The same applies to passengers on buses and trains.