The corona vaccination requirement in care, practices and clinics has triggered a wave of constitutional complaints. The Federal Constitutional Court has now announced its decision after intensive examination.

The corona vaccination requirement for nursing and healthcare staff is legal: The Federal Constitutional Court has rejected a constitutional complaint against the so-called facility-related vaccination requirement.

The highest German court argued that the protection of so-called vulnerable groups weighs constitutionally more heavily than the impairment of the basic rights of employees in the care and health sector. (Az. 1 BvR 2649/21, decision of April 27, 2022)

Court: Consideration of the legislature not objectionable

The judges in Karlsruhe admitted that there was an interference with physical integrity. The only alternatives are to no longer practice the profession or to change jobs. But the legislator’s consideration of “giving priority to the protection of vulnerable people over a free vaccination decision in every respect” is not objectionable.

According to the announcement, the further development of the course of the pandemic is also no reason to deviate from the assessment. Members of specialist societies are of the opinion that the course of the disease in the course of the omicron variant of the coronavirus is milder on average – “however, the composition of the risk groups and their fundamentally higher risk have not changed”.

The so-called facility-related compulsory vaccination is intended to protect old and weakened people from infection with the corona virus. They have a particularly high risk of becoming very ill or dying of it. Employees in nursing homes and clinics, but also, for example, in doctor’s offices and outpatient services, midwives, masseurs and physiotherapists had to prove by March 15 that they were fully vaccinated or had recently recovered. New employees needed proof from March 16th.

If he is missing, the facility must inform the health department. It can prohibit those affected from entering their workplace or from continuing to work. There is an exception for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Law changed during appeals process

In the urgent procedure, the First Senate of the Constitutional Court did not stop the introduction of facility-related vaccination requirements in February. However, he critically noted that the law at the time did not contain anything more specific about proof of vaccination and recovery. It is only referred to a regulation with further references to the websites of the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). However, since the law was changed during the appeal process and a new paragraph defining the vaccination and recovery certificate was introduced, the court no longer commented on the question of the reference to institutional homepages.

The passing of the special vaccination requirement in the Bundestag and Bundesrat had triggered a wave of lawsuits: In Karlsruhe, dozens of constitutional complaints were received from hundreds of plaintiffs. Most of them were unvaccinated employees and managers of facilities that want to continue to employ unvaccinated staff.