Berlin There will be no legal obligation for everyone to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. But there could be growing pressure from another side to get the injection. Some questions and answers…
The Australian airline Qantas has already announced that it will only carry vaccinated passengers on international flights. The first German companies are also playing games with the idea of switching over to normal operations as quickly as possible with a vaccinated workforce. We answer the most important questions.
Can my employer force me to be vaccinated?
No. "The insertion of the needle into the skin tissue is an intervention in physical integrity," says labour law expert Christoph Kurzböck from the law firm Rödl & Partner in Nuremberg. The employer cannot demand this from the employees. A corresponding instruction, or a corresponding amendment to the employment contract, is therefore ineffective. "Unlawful instructions do not have to be followed.“
What if, for example, the employer no longer employs me in the field without vaccination?
This is more likely to happen, but the reorganisation should not be to the detriment of employees. "In recent months, milder protective measures such as masks and distance have also proved their worth," says Kurzböck. There is nothing to be said against continuing to comply with these in the field instead of absolutely wanting to use vaccinated staff here now.
What if, for example, a restaurant or a physiotherapy practice wants to advertise with a "fully vaccinated staff" and asks its employees to be vaccinated inside?
In this case, the boss can at best create positive incentives for the staff, for example a reward for following suit. Sanctions for employees who do not wish to be vaccinated would be illegal.
Where do I get the vaccination as a young, healthy person?
Not for the time being. The government has made it clear that there is a fixed order in which citizens receive the vaccine. Senior citizens, risk groups, and particularly vulnerable health workers, are vaccinated with priority in the first few months. There should be no possibility of jumping the queue for business or private reasons.
Will unvaccinated citizens face disadvantages, such as not being admitted to events?
That is a matter for the organiser. "The house rules allow admission only to certain groups of people," says Kurzböck. So the operators could have a vaccination certificate shown at the entrance. That also applies to concerts - or an airline like Qantas, which can choose who it takes along in its planes. Lufthansa has already made it clear, however, that it does not want to demand proof of vaccination from its passengers.
Who could still be subject to compulsory vaccination?
Health Minister Jens Spahn said in the Bundestag: "Take my word for it: there will be no compulsory vaccination. Vaccination is a purely ‚voluntary offer‘." In political Berlin, however, there are rumours of a Corona law modelled on the measles protection law. The Measles Protection Act came into effect this March: Educators, teachers, day care workers and medical staff must have a measles vaccination to be allowed to do their jobs. "Such a regulation would also be at least conceivable for protection against Covid-19," says Kurzböck. The narrowly limited target group would then be mainly caregivers in old people's homes.
(Original text: Finn Mayer-Kuckuk, Translation: Mareike Graepel)