COVID: German court approves vaccination mandate for some

BERLIN — Germany’s top court said on Thursday it had approved rules requiring health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Federal Constitutional Court announced that it had dismissed complaints against the measure, arguing that the importance of protecting vulnerable people in hospitals and care homes outweighs any violation of the rights of healthcare workers.

The limited tenure went into effect in mid-March. The constitutional court had previously refused to issue an injunction blocking its implementation as it issues a final decision.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach welcomed Thursday’s decision, saying in a statement that “the state is obliged to protect vulnerable groups”. He thanked the health facilities that implemented the mandate, saying they helped prevent more deaths from the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz initially wanted to extend the mandate of the vaccine to all adults, but even a proposal to impose one on people aged 60 and over was rejected by lawmakers.

So far, almost 76% of the German population has received two injections against the coronavirus, and almost 60% have also received a booster injection. Demand for vaccinations is currently very low, but the government on Wednesday approved spending more money on new vaccines that will allow the country to deal with a range of possible variants this fall.

Lauterbach will host a meeting of his counterparts from key Group of Seven democracies in Berlin on Thursday and Friday, although he had contact with US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra a day before Becerra tested positive for COVID-19 .

A spokesperson for Lauterbach said all safety precautions were taken during Tuesday’s meeting and Becerra would join via video from a hotel in Berlin where he is currently in quarantine.

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