Bundestag discusses compulsory vaccination

Status: 01/26/2022 03:12 a.m

When it comes to ethical and moral issues in the Bundestag, the debates usually become very intense and personal. It shouldn’t be any different today, when MPs debate the pros and cons of compulsory vaccination for the first time.

By Angela Tesch, ARD Capital Studio

The three-hour debate is intended to provide orientation. Orientation in a highly controversial issue: “For us, as we said in December, this is a medical-ethical issue that needs to be weighed up from all sides,” says Christian Dürr, leader of the FDP parliamentary group. It is the liberals who are rather skeptical about compulsory vaccination and have prevented the red-green-yellow governing coalition from presenting a joint draft law.

Angela Tech
ARD Capital Studio

“No application from the coalition. It is expressly a decision that is made from within the German Bundestag.” FDP leader Christian Lindner emphasizes the advantages of having Members of the Bundestag exchange ideas openly and without party discipline. Differing opinions would also be heard.

“We know that there are many public concerns that are being discussed.” And that’s why a transparent, public debate in the Bundestag is particularly important, agrees Britta Haßelmann, leader of the Greens.

Decision must be generally accepted in politics

In view of the high potential for conflict, the Bundestag and the conscientious decision of each and every member of parliament is helpful to ensure acceptance and peace in the vaccination requirement.

But that also means that the decision that comes out must also be generally accepted in politics. And from the point of view of the Minister of Health, in the worst case, for example, this could also mean that there is no general obligation to vaccinate.

Bonn political scientist Julia Reuschenbach points this out with a view to the end of the parliamentary procedure.

Three thrusts

Today, the different proposals and positions will first be explained and discussed. In the end there will probably be three applications, three directions. Scenario one: The rejection of compulsory vaccination. The demands of Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki and – according to his information – more than 30 MPs. With a few exceptions, they all belong to the FDP parliamentary group. The obligation to vaccinate cannot be implemented, and it is illogical to justify restrictions on fundamental rights with a mutant that no one knows yet.

“There may be a graduated vaccination requirement, for example according to age groups – and a general vaccination requirement from the age of 18,” says FDP parliamentary group leader Dürr on two other proposals. They come from deputies from the traffic light groups, i.e. from the SPD, Greens and FDP.

Scholz now for compulsory vaccination

The AfD has long been demanding in the Bundestag that no corona vaccination be introduced. Like many politicians in the German Bundestag, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, SPD, was against compulsory vaccination for a long time. Now he is defending her, “given the fact that the vaccination rate in Germany is not high enough to ensure adequate protection for citizens.”

It is still unclear whether the Union and the left will participate in group applications: “We cannot and do not want to stay out of it,” explains Linke leader Janine Wissler. In principle, she thinks cross-party group applications are good, but there are still many open questions – for example about the feasibility of compulsory vaccination and about the sanctions. You still exchange ideas within the group. “So far, to my knowledge, there are no leftists who have announced that they will support group motions.”

The Union had repeatedly urged the government to submit a draft. Group leader Ralph Brinkhaus also criticized shortly before the orientation debate: The coalition is behaving like a “minority government” that is looking for the support of the opposition. The group leader announced that the Union would work towards a solution with a vaccination register.

Bundestag discusses compulsory vaccination

Angela Tesch, ARD Berlin, 25.1.2022 · 23:09


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