Ethical Orientation on the Issue of General Mandatory Vaccination

Published: 22 December 2021

In light of more infectious variants of SARS-CoV-2 and considering insufficient vaccination rates, the German Ethics Council has examined essential ethical and legal arguments for and against a general mandatory vaccination. According to the Council, an extended mandatory vaccination can be an effective tool in the medium term to mitigate or prevent serious negative consequences of possible future pandemic waves, such as high mortality, long-term health impairments of significant parts of the population or an imminent collapse of the health system. However, such mandatory vaccination should only be considered as one component of a comprehensive, evidence-based, differentiated and forward-looking strategy to address the pandemic. The German Ethics Council recommends by majority an expansion of the mandatory vaccination policy against Covid-19 that the German Bundestag adopted with regard to employees in certain facilities, and puts forward different positions on its concrete design.