How much pressure is allowed on people who don't like vaccinations?
The governing mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD), has written a letter to the approximately 200,000 students in the capital calling on them to be fully vaccinated against Corona. Berlin had already begun additional priority vaccinations for students in mid-June and continued to support the vaccination offers of the company medical services at the universities.
Mueller expects from it a secured attendance study in the coming winter semester and calls as a condition for it an accordingly high inoculation ratio. Of a "moral and ethical vaccination obligation" spoke on Thursday the Federal association of the Catholics in economics and administration. "We are obligated as Christians to protect not only ourselves, but also our fellow human beings," said association head Josef Ridders, explaining the appeal. A general vaccination obligation is for it however only as last means "meaningful and enforceable".
Admittedly, more than half of the people in Germany are now fully vaccinated against Corona. But while the vaccination readiness noticeably decreases and presumably remains far behind the expectations of experts, the infection numbers rise in the meantime again daily. In addition to compulsory vaccination, there is therefore also discussion about initially motivating the unvaccinated to get the shot with gentle pressure. Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) said that vaccinated and recovered people could not be permanently subjected to all the restrictions "that must apply to non-vaccinated people in order to combat the pandemic."
He also sees no constitutional problems for different treatment. Schäuble urged in the New Osnabrück Newspaper that everyone should think more about the consequences of refusing vaccination for their fellow citizens. "This should definitely be a topic among friends and acquaintances," he said. "A certain social pressure would not be wrong from my point of view." Schäuble said he could not understand the low willingness to vaccinate. "That makes me sad beyond measure."
Politicians could provide a strong incentive for vaccination by making the current alternative - the Corona test - chargeable in the future. This had already been advocated by Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD) and CSU leader Markus Söder. Baden-Württemberg's Science Minister Theresia Bauer (Greens) supported the plan for her area on Thursday: she wants tests to cost something for students in the future. Everywhere in the state, you can now get a vaccination appointment without any problems, Bauer said in Stuttgart on Thursday.
"I think whoever doesn't want to accept these offers and decides against vaccination without medical reasons, should take care of tests themselves." Continuing to offer free rapid tests would send the wrong signal, in her view. Opposition came from German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). "As long as the pandemic continues, I would not change anything about the freedom from costs. I want those who are neither vaccinated nor recovered to have the chance of the test," Seehofer told the Middle Bavarian newspaper. "How many people do you think will stop taking or be able to take the test if it is not free of charge?"
The chairwoman of the doctors' union Marburger Bund, Susanne Johna, warned of an overload of hospitals in late fall. "The coming fourth wave poses a major challenge for doctors and nurses," Johna told the F.A.Z. Unlike last year, scheduled operations would no longer be postponed. Given the comparatively low vaccination rate, she expects that more Covid 19 patients will have to be treated in hospitals again in late fall. In addition, without a new lockdown, flu and other viruses would again spread at a much higher rate than last year.
"Under no circumstances should we do large-scale experiments like we just did in England," Johna said, referring to the government's decision in London to lift almost all Corona restrictions. "We should continue to maintain the mask requirement indoors." While it is true that an equal incidence in the face of the vaccination campaign is producing fewer bad cases of the disease than before the vaccinations, he said. But there will continue to be a dependence of the numbers on each other, Johna said. She considers the estimate of German Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) that an incidence of 200 corresponds to the old value of 50 to be too optimistic.
"Because even vaccinated people can occasionally become infected with corona, the ratio is likely to be rather less favorable," she said. The old incidence of 50 currently corresponds more to a value of 150, she said. The Robert Koch Institute gave the nationwide incidence, the number of confirmed infections within a week per 100,000 inhabitants, as 16 on Thursday morning. Within one day, 3142 infections were added.
As for the situation at colleges, by the way, American universities are much more rigorous about vaccination. More and more colleges are requiring students and staff to be vaccinated - these include MIT and the elite universities of Yale, Harvard and Stanford. The European Court of Human Rights considers mandatory vaccination in specific areas, such as schools, universities and healthcare, to be legal.
Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya