Federal court examines corona vaccination obligation for soldiers

corona vaccination

A woman prepares a dose of the Biontech/Pfizer Corona vaccine. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa

(Photo: dpa)

As of November 24, 2021, the Ministry of Defense had adopted a Covid-19 vaccination as compulsory in the general regulations of the central service regulations “Vaccination and other prophylactic measures”. Since then, there is a so-called tolerance obligation for this vaccination. The two men file a complaint.

Call for bodily integrity

It is still unclear whether the senate of the first military service, which rules on the two requests in first and last instance, will render a judgment today. The officers invoke their fundamental right to physical integrity. From their point of view, the Covid-19 vaccination is not suitable for the prevention of communicable diseases. In addition, it does not prevent infections or diseases. Vaccines are also not proven to reduce the risk of severe Covid 19 disease.

Both men also oppose the use of an mRNA vaccine. According to his claim, the use of this genetic engineering has not been adequately researched in terms of side effects and long-term consequences. Therefore, there was a risk of significant vaccination-related harm, which is why the vaccination order was disproportionate and unreasonable.

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The Ministry of Defense, on the other hand, considers it lawful to include the Covid 19 vaccination in the list of basic vaccinations to be carried out. The fundamental right of soldiers to physical integrity was effectively restricted by the duty to maintain good health (Section 17a (2) sentence 1 no. 1 of the Soldiers Act). According to it, a soldier must tolerate medical measures against his will only if they are used to prevent or control communicable diseases or to determine his fitness for service or employment. Therefore, the regulation makes it possible to order a vaccination against the corona virus.

94% complete immunization

Vaccination is used to prevent a communicable disease, although it does not offer complete protection. It is enough that it reduces the likelihood of infection and the risk of severe developments. This has been proven on the basis of current scientific studies and investigations by the Robert Koch Institute. Nor are there any disproportionately high vaccination risks associated with vaccination.

According to a preliminary survey by the ministry, the proportion of vaccinated and recovered soldiers who are currently fully immunized is 94%. The vaccination rate of soldiers on mission abroad is therefore 100%. A total of 183,638 soldiers currently serve in the Bundeswehr.

Full vaccination of soldiers is of increased interest, a ministry spokesperson said. “The obligation to tolerate is a pillar of maintaining the command and control capability and the readiness of the Bundeswehr. This is to protect the individual and the military community from the spread of infectious disease.” For military women or men who refuse to be vaccinated without justification, this represents a dereliction of duty that may have consequences under of military law.

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