Brussels (Brussels Morning) The German Ethics Council narrowly approved mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all adults, under certain conditions. Previously, the German authorities had made such vaccination mandatory only for some healthcare workers, DW reports.
The proposal was backed by 13 of the 24 members of the Council, after German state leaders earlier this month called on it to assess the proposal, realising that its decisions are not binding.
The Council expanded the mandate already in place for healthcare workers working with people who are especially vulnerable to cover all people over the age of 18. In doing so, it stipulated that it is opposes physical enforcement.
High vaccination rate
It also stressed the need to achieve high vaccination rates as soon as possible, noting that “the German healthcare system is reaching its limits in many places.”
“Viral variants such as Omicron and expected further variants of the virus are forcing experts to constantly reassess their estimates of the future course of the pandemic”, according to the Council.
It maintained that expanding the mandate is one of the measures that will help curb the spread of coronavirus and end the pandemic in the long term.
“Its extension can therefore only be justified if it is able to mitigate or prevent serious negative consequences of possible future pandemic waves, such as high mortality, long-term adverse health effects on significant parts of the population, or an imminent collapse of the health care system”, Council members opined.
It was vital to complement expansion of the mandate with other measures aimed at increasing vaccination rates. To achieve this, strengthening the infrastructure to deliver vaccines, securing sufficient supplies and providing accessible vaccination services were all essential prerequisites.
“Mandatory vaccination cannot break the current fourth wave in the short term”, the Council declared. “Similarly, mandatory vaccination cannot be a panacea for the pandemic”; since it must be considered “as part of a comprehensive, evidence-based, differentiated and forward-looking overall pandemic strategy.”
The Ethics Council concluded that all “political actors and state authorities should consciously work to avoid fronts between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.”