Opinions differ on compulsory vaccination: Panel discussion of the Tölzer Grünen

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Of: Patrick Staar

Actively discussing the obligation to vaccinate (clockwise from top left): moderator Matthias Thumfart, pediatrician Jost Deerberg, family doctor Thomas Maurer, vaccinator Rainer Jurda, family doctor Alexandra Maurer, lawyer Jan Matthias Hesse and (middle) Toni Schuberl, lawyer and legal policy spokesman the green parliamentary group. © Green

When the term “vaccination obligation” is mentioned, conversations become emotional. At the panel discussion of the Tölzer Grünen, the opinions could hardly have been more contradictory.

Bad Tölz – After a two-hour firework of arguments, the participants had not moved a millimeter towards each other. On one side stood Toni Schuberl, lawyer and legal policy spokesman for the Green parliamentary group. He had to deal with four discussion partners who were skeptical about compulsory vaccination: The family doctor Dr. Thomas Maurer, who is also the local chairman of the Greens, the family doctor Dr. Alexandra Maurer and the lawyer Jan Matthias Hesse and Dr. Jost Deerberg, both from the association “Doctors for an individual vaccination decision”. While the five opponents talked their heads hot, Dr. Rainer Jurda, vaccinator from the start, on two short requests to speak.

Vaccination has relieved the situation in nursing homes immensely

She currently has an average of 80 corona patients per week in her practice, reported Dr. Alexandra Maurer. Most just needed a swab or sick leave. Some patients received support from homeopathic and naturopathic remedies or pain medication. She only had to refer one patient to the hospital – and he had been vaccinated and had a serious previous illness. Infected vaccinated people could pass on the virus just like infected non-vaccinated people. The protection against infection decreases significantly with the second and third vaccination after three months, but offers reliable and sustainable protection against serious illnesses: “This has relieved the situation in old people’s homes immensely,” said Maurer.

A vaccine that helps against the omicron variant has yet to be produced. It is not known whether it will be approved, whether it will help and what risks it entails: “We cannot therefore oblige people to be vaccinated. That makes no legal or ethical sense.”

More current news from the region around Bad Tölz can be found here.

Is compulsory vaccination legal? Here the opinions differed greatly

Opinions differed widely on the question of whether compulsory vaccination is legally permissible. Jan Matthias Hesse reported that his law firm had already lodged a constitutional complaint against the Measles Protection Act. Even with Covid-19, the prerequisites for a general obligation to vaccinate are not met. It is not suitable for stopping the pandemic because the protection from others only lasts three months. It is not necessary because there are milder measures to spread it, such as regular tests and the obligation to wear a mask. In addition, there are now promising drugs. Last but not least, a vaccination requirement is not proportionate, since the safety test has not been completed.

“It is a great misunderstanding to believe that fundamental rights are inviolable”

Toni Schuberl, also a lawyer, does not share these legal concerns. “It is a huge misunderstanding to believe that fundamental rights are inviolable. Only human dignity is inviolable.” All other fundamental rights are in conflict and must be weighed against each other. For example, it is a fundamental right of parents that the state does not interfere with the upbringing of their children.

At the same time, there is the fundamental right to physical integrity. “We already have a contradiction when the parents think that they have to punish their children physically.” Balancing is the “art of politics”. On the one hand there are the children and parents who want to participate in social life again and demand that the measures stop. On the other hand, there are the hospital staff, who have been experiencing overwork situations again and again for the past two years. Schuberl: “The staff demands that this stop.” And then there are people who do not want to be vaccinated.

“Not all wishes can be fulfilled at the same time”

The member of parliament emphasized: “I don’t want children to be bad, I don’t want hospital staff to be bad, and I don’t want vaccination skeptics to be forced to vaccinate.” The problem is that not all wishes can be fulfilled at the same time.” He cannot accept the argument that vaccination does not offer 100 percent protection. The crucial question is whether you are better protected if you get vaccinated. At the same time, the side effects of vaccination are “very manageable”. Alexandra Maurer disagreed. In the 12 to 26 year olds, every 2000th man has to reckon with an inflammation of the heart muscle. However, moderator Matthias Thumfart immediately pointed out that the risk of developing heart muscle inflammation in the event of a corona infection was also significantly higher in this group.

Compulsory vaccination: The decision must come from the heart of the people’s representatives

A listener asked whether Omikron had changed Schuberl’s attitude towards compulsory vaccination. With this variant, the Bundestag has more time for discussions, the lawyer replied: “That’s a good thing. The decision must be discussed and come from the hearts of the representatives of the people.” He could imagine that compulsory vaccination from the age of 60 is more appropriate than compulsory vaccination from the age of 18.

Compared to the fall, he changed his mind. At the time, he argued vehemently that everyone in Germany had the chance to be immunized, so the protective measures could be lifted step by step: “We know that the unvaccinated have a significantly higher death rate. But these are adults who can inform themselves. It is the price of freedom that there are thousands of deaths that could have been prevented.” The Delta variant made him rethink: “We cannot allow the intensive care units to be overloaded and, for example, heart attacks can no longer be treated. That’s not possible, so we had to shut everything down again.”

Discrimination through compulsory vaccination “a scandal”

The Hamburg pediatrician Dr. Jost Deerberg denied that there was ever a risk of intensive care units being overloaded in Germany. “If tomorrow 10,000 more people had to be treated in intensive care units, then we would have to change the legal framework,” he demanded. If the care key is changed, each nurse can take care of four instead of three patients. According to his calculations, 10 to 15 percent of nursing staff would be forced out of the profession by compulsory vaccination. “I think this discrimination is a scandal,” said Deerberg. “A scandal mainly from the Green Party.”

“There was no alternative in the pandemic”

A listener wanted to know where Schuberl got his information from. The Green MEP said that Corona had been the dominant and often the only issue in the group for the past two years. Experts from all areas have been invited again and again, “epidemiologists, psychotherapists, people from business and schools”. Every day he gets a flood of emails with links to studies and YouTube videos. He tries to answer all emails. He therefore knows most of the arguments. “I would prefer it if I could say I know an alternative, what the state government is doing is all nonsense.” However, this is not the case: “We searched in the parliamentary group, argued, discussed nights with experts – but there was no alternative in the pandemic. It’s not that we’re dumb and sleepwalking through life.”

Those involved only agreed on the question that the Novavax vaccine could bring a small boost. Since it became known a few days ago that Novavax will be delivered, there have been more inquiries, reported Dr. Rainer Jurda. Thomas Maurer confirmed this: “We have full lists.”

By the way: Everything from the region is also available in our regular Bad Tölz newsletter.

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