It may be difficult for some to imagine, but there are anti-vaccinationists who are not crazy. They are simply more afraid of vaccination than of infection. A community must be able to deal with this if it wants to deal with a pandemic.

Last but not least, understanding words can be found for this group in the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on compulsory vaccination in nursing homes and hospitals (file no.: 1 BvR 2649/21).

Self-government, telematics, Morbi-RSA: The briefing on health

The judges confirm the immunization regulations that have been in place since December, without denouncing their rejection by some of those affected. “After all, it must be assumed that a vaccination can also be fatal in very extreme exceptional cases,” it says literally.

To some healthy, vital people, that must sound like a threat.

Consequently, it is not just a jab in the upper arm that employees have to put up with. The court speaks of “introduction of a substance into the body” and for the first time calls it an “intervention of considerable importance”. Having this clarified will be helpful for future discussions.

The same applies to the evaluation of the methods with which the legislator has secured the procedure: those who cannot present proof of vaccination risk fines and their job.

This does not mean that vaccination is “compulsory” that can be enforced by sovereign means, but in the end the measures have the effect of one. Victims have a choice that actually isn’t one. The judges also find clear words for this inevitability.

The nursing vaccination requirement is nevertheless constitutional because it reacts to the fate of the elderly and sick in the pandemic, who deserve special protection. Here the court makes an assessment that is not objectionable. Vaccination protects and helps prevent infection. Legitimate fears of vaccination have to step back.

It would be wrong to read the decision as an encouragement to bring compulsory vaccination back into the political debate. Irrespective of this, one will have to ask oneself: Would it really be necessary for preventive reasons? That was forgotten in the hot pandemic autumn of last year, when compulsory vaccination for everyone who nobody wanted before suddenly became a top priority.

After that, the constitutional reality was abandoned and the project was declared a question of conscience in the Bundestag, which, as expected, did not lead to a consensus. The message got through: the situation is not that serious, or at least not anymore.

It is good that vaccination is currently off the table; that this applies to the topic of the pandemic as a whole, may not. The constitutional court attests that the federal government has the “necessary expertise and expertise” to deal with the crisis. But everyone has to be careful.