Measles vaccination approved: Protection of children first

Status: 18/08/2022 13:24

Children who are cared for in day care must be vaccinated against measles. The Federal Constitutional Court has decided that. Although this is an interference with fundamental rights, this is reasonable.

By Klaus Hempel, ARD’s legal department

More than two years ago, in March 2020, compulsory vaccination against measles came into force. And as of today, one thing is certain: it will stay that way. Parents who wish to enroll their child in daycare, daycare or school must prove that they have been vaccinated against measles or have already had measles.

Several parents had sued, also on behalf of their children. The state-mandated vaccination is an unconstitutional interference with children’s physical integrity and their parental rights. But the Federal Constitutional Court did not agree. In his view, compulsory vaccination is constitutional. It protects a large number of people, especially those considered particularly vulnerable. It is, for example, infants or pregnant women who cannot be vaccinated.

Claudia Kornmeier, SWR, on the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on measles vaccination

tagesschau24 10.00, 18.8.2022

One argument: the high risk of infection

The eight judges in the 1st Senate referred to the high risk of infection with measles. If the disease develops seriously, people can die. This results in a special duty on the state to protect society as a whole.

This aspect plays a particularly important role in the decision, believes constitutional lawyer Steffen Augsberg, member of the German Ethics Council. This led the judges to claim that the number of people vaccinated was not sufficient. “At least that’s the constitutionally acceptable position of the legislature,” Augsberg said. “In order to achieve so-called crew protection, we must take measures that can reasonably go beyond what can be called ‘voluntary efforts’.”

violation of fundamental rights is not disproportionate

The Federal Constitutional Court certainly recognizes that compulsory vaccination is a significant interference with the fundamental rights of children and parents. But this is not disproportionate. The vaccination will usually only cause mild symptoms and side effects. Real vaccine damage is extremely unlikely. Those who do not wish to have their children vaccinated can organize their care privately. This is still possible even without vaccination.

In its decision, the Federal Constitutional Court then draws up a legally binding specification. This is connected to the fact that in practice combination vaccines are given: Vaccinations are given not only against measles, but also against mumps, rubella and chicken pox. This limit must remain within the scope of the compulsory vaccination.

No comparison with a corona vaccination obligation

The question arises: Can one derive basic information about the subject of compulsory vaccination from the decision, for example with regard to the controversial compulsory vaccination against corona? Law professor Augsberg warns against hasty conclusions. The Covid-19 vaccines are far less studied than the measles vaccines.

Much of what concerns side effects is still unclear, says Augsberg. In this regard, one cannot “draw a very clear and unequivocal line and say: because they consider mandatory vaccination against measles to be constitutional, they will necessarily do the same with Covid-19. We have just learned that there is a whole a number of are uncertainties. Let’s just think about the serious side effects that you can’t just brush aside in the form”.

File numbers: 1 BvR 469/20, 1 BvR 470/20, 1 BvR 471/20 and 1 BvR 472/20

Federal Constitutional Court on Measles Vaccination

Klaus Hempel, SWR, 18.8.2022 12:38

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