In the midst of the renewed discussion about general corona vaccination, the Federal Constitutional Court announced an important decision on the controversial Infection Protection Act on Thursday morning. It is about the corona vaccination obligation for the nursing and health staff.

In the summary proceedings, the judges in Karlsruhe did not object to this. In February, however, they critically noted that the law does not contain anything more specific about proof of vaccination and recovery. It is only referred to a regulation with further references to the websites of the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The highest German court publishes the decision in writing.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said on Wednesday that he was assuming “that the legality of the facility-related compulsory vaccination would actually be confirmed”. The board of directors of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, Eugen Brysch, told the German Press Agency: “Certainly the Federal Constitutional Court will object to the role of the RKI envisaged by the legislature.” It cannot be that the Bundestag allows a subordinate authority to design the criteria. “It is doubtful whether the entire law is unconstitutional.”

The so-called facility-related compulsory vaccination is intended to protect old and weakened people from infection with the corona virus. They have a particularly high risk of becoming very ill or dying of it. Employees in nursing homes and clinics, but also, for example, in doctor’s offices and outpatient services, midwives, masseurs and physiotherapists had to prove by March 15 that they were fully vaccinated or had recently recovered. New employees needed proof from March 16th.

If he is missing, the facility must inform the health department. It can prohibit those affected from entering their workplace or from continuing to work. There is an exception for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

It was only on Monday that Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse had appealed at a digital conference of health ministers to dare a new start in the Bundestag for compulsory vaccination from the age of 60 in view of the threatening corona wave in autumn. In this way, an overload of the health system and thus restrictions for the entire population could be avoided. At the end of June, the health ministers should discuss this again and make a decision.

A cross-party draft for a general obligation to vaccinate, initially from the age of 60, clearly failed in the Bundestag at the beginning of April. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) then made it clear that he saw no basis for a renewed attempt.

With a view to the institution-related vaccination requirement, the first senate of the constitutional court had examined in an expedited procedure what would have the worse consequences: if he first lets everything go, although the complaints would be justified – or if he initially suspends the vaccination requirement and this later turns out to be constitutional. This assessment of the consequences was to the detriment of the plaintiffs – mostly unvaccinated employees and facility managers who want to continue to employ unvaccinated staff.

“The very low probability of serious consequences of a vaccination is offset by the significantly higher probability of damage to the life and limb of vulnerable people,” the court said in February. The obligation to vaccinate meets “at the time of this decision no far-reaching constitutional concerns”. The facility-related compulsory vaccination could therefore be implemented as planned. However, a comprehensive examination of the constitutional complaints was still pending.

The adoption of this compulsory vaccination in the Bundestag and Bundesrat had triggered a wave of lawsuits: Dozens of constitutional complaints from hundreds of plaintiffs were received in Karlsruhe.