Bundestag debates for the first time about general vaccination

Status: 01/26/2022 5:14 p.m

In the Bundestag, a general corona vaccination requirement was debated for the first time. While many MPs called for such a duty, others spoke out in favor of a “middle ground” – or rejected the plan entirely.

In a so-called orientation debate, the Bundestag for the first time explored the pros and cons of a general obligation to vaccinate. At the start, SPD parliamentary group leader Dagmar Schmidt and the Greens health expert Kirsten Kappert-Gonther campaigned for compulsory vaccination for all adults who have non-medical reasons against it.

There are worries and fears in society that have to be taken seriously, but “there are also expectations of consistent action,” said Schmidt. The obligation to vaccinate is “not an easy step” for her, but the alternatives are more “many dead, sick and long-Covid patients” or always new contact and access restrictions. “We need a very high vaccination rate to get out of the pandemic” and compulsory vaccination is the best way to do that.

“Now we are responsible for closing the existing vaccination gaps,” said Kappert-Gonther. It is “a privilege” to be able to be vaccinated, but also “an obligation”. In addition, a clear state regulation would not cause more social divisions, but on the contrary could help “to bring about pacification”.

Buschmann is considering compulsory vaccination for the elderly

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP), who spoke expressly as a simple member of parliament, brought up compulsory vaccination from the age of 50. It must be clarified whether there are not milder means than a general obligation to vaccinate from the age of 18. He expressly acknowledged the Bundestag debate, in which the faction obligation had been lifted. “Everywhere there is a very passionate discussion about this matter,” he said, referring to the debates in society.

Buschmann received support from the Saxon Green MP Paula Piechotta. She also campaigned for a middle way: Limiting the vaccination requirement to people over 50 years of age could minimize the “social side effects”.

CDU health expert for compromise

The CDU health expert Tino Sorge pleaded for a differentiated solution. He also emphasized that “vaccination is the way out of the pandemic” and that compulsory vaccination therefore makes sense. However, concern campaigned for a “differentiated” solution and a compromise within the framework of parliamentary deliberations. However, he did not give details of what such a solution could look like.

The deputy leader of the Union parliamentary group, Andrea Lindholz, raised serious allegations against the traffic light coalition. Due to the lack of a bill of her own, the CSU politician accused the federal government of “refusal to work”. “The traffic light is directionless and disoriented on the issue of compulsory vaccination.” The planned large number of different applications in Parliament paints a picture of the planlessness and leads to uncertainty in the population.

AfD rejects compulsory vaccination in principle

In the debate, the AfD reiterated its rejection of a possible vaccination requirement. One rejects this “completely” both for individual professional groups and in general, said co-group leader Tino Chrupalla. You’ve gotten to a point where vaccines have almost taken on a religious status. “Anyone who doesn’t believe and makes use of their basic right to self-determination is automatically excluded.”

Co-group leader Alice Weidel warned: “If the state presumes to decide about the bodies of its citizens, that is an elementary breach of civilization.” There is no justification for mandatory vaccination: “neither medically, nor ethically, nor legally”. You have to live with the virus. Everyone must be able to decide freely whether they want to protect themselves through vaccination or in some other way, said Weidel.

Decision probably only in March

After the debate, groups of MPs should come together and submit motions from Parliament. However, there are also signals from the Union that it is planning its own application as a parliamentary group. So far, three models have emerged: compulsory vaccination for all adults, compulsory vaccination from the age of 50 and no compulsory vaccination.

In mid-February, the Bundestag is to discuss the applications that have been submitted by then in a first reading. A decision should then be made in March.


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