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German Ethics Council backtracks on mandatory vaccination recommendation

German Ethics Council backtracks on mandatory vaccination recommendation

When the committee recommended extending the vaccination requirement to “essential parts of the population” in December, this statement was “essentially written under the conditions of the Delta variant”, emphasized Council Chairwoman Alena Buyx. If the facts in the pandemic change significantly – for example due to the highly infectious omicron variant – you also have to “review the normative assessments that you made. Anything else would be irresponsible.”

editorial staff
13 January 2022 16:26

The members of the Ethics Council stand for “openness to revision”, and they also recommend this to politicians, Buyx told the news magazine “Spiegel”. “It is possible that important things will change again, for example that our current vaccination rate for future, more harmless mutations will be sufficient to achieve a controlled endemic situation.” Of course, the opposite could also happen.

Buyx pointed out that from the point of view of the Ethics Council, numerous conditions for the introduction of a general obligation to vaccinate have not yet been met. “We wrote the politicians in the task book what would have to be done before vaccination could become compulsory: for example, there would have to be many more low-threshold, nationwide vaccination offers. So far, however, there has been no real target group-specific strategy.” A permanent vaccination infrastructure and many good advisory services would also be needed. “So there is a whole range of conditions or accompanying measures that are mandatory before we think vaccination could become mandatory.”

At the end of December, 20 of the 24 members of the Ethics Council were in favor of extending compulsory vaccination and 4 were against it. Opinions differed on the scope of the expansion: 13 of the 20 in favor advocate expanding compulsory vaccination to all adults who could be vaccinated. 7 were in favor of limiting this to corona risk groups such as the elderly or those with previous illnesses.

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