A vaccination requirement is impractical and immoral

Can only force help? No!
The compulsory vaccination is impractical and immoral

A comment by Thomas Leidl

The mood has turned. Unlike in August, a majority of German citizens are now in favor of a general compulsory vaccination. This is understandable in view of the exploding numbers of infections and full intensive care units. But above all, it is an indictment for all of us.

You don’t really have to repeat it: the vaccination works, the vaccination is safe, the vaccination protects – not only the vaccinee but many other human lives and the health system from overload. So far so good.

Yet people still do not behave sensibly. They hesitate to do what is scientifically correct. They refuse, when the risk of becoming seriously ill and infecting others is much greater than that of being harmed by the vaccination. Don’t you have to force these people to be happy? Doesn’t society have a right to force such fellow citizens to immunize?

My answer is: absolutely not.

Even compulsory vaccination for nursing staff gives me severe stomach ache – not only because members of the medical professions actually know better and should have been vaccinated long ago. But here a duty would be just barely acceptable because these people are naturally present in medical facilities and, if unvaccinated, pose a threat to their patients. They could find another job, but their patients do not have the opportunity to find other vaccinated nurses.

Right to self-determination as part of human dignity

Compulsory vaccination? You can also see it differently:

Our author Thomas Leidel thinks the vaccination requirement is wrong, but of course there are also good arguments for an opposing position. In his comment, Christian Berger wrote down why he considers compulsory vaccination to be urgently needed. Read the counter-comment here.

A compulsory vaccination is a serious interference with a person’s self-determination, for which there can only be reasons in very narrow exceptional cases. Because, among many other things, self-determination includes the right to determine what should be brought into one’s own body. Forcing a drug to be administered with the best intentions is to rape a person, to rob a person of his or her dignity.

And how should that look in practice? Mobile commandos that catch people on the sidewalk and take them to the vaccination center? Raptors that drag vaccinators out of dark cellars? Or give them the injection right there and then? Who plant an NFC chip under their skin? The scenario may seem exaggerated. But seriously: How should you enforce a general vaccination requirement? Draconian fines? Convict? Immediate compulsion? Nobody can seriously want that. That is not compatible with human dignity. Whoever speaks out in favor has not considered the consequences of his demand.

We are all responsible

Anyone who now wants to force the hesitant has not understood: we are all complicit. Because how is it that so many people have lost confidence in enlightenment, in scientific knowledge, in reason and rationality? Who has gambled away this trust? It was all of us: greed for profit in the healthcare system, insincerity in politics, lack of criticism in the media, laziness to think and unwillingness to adhere to the scientific method, to promote common sense in tough conversations, for solidarity and empathy and to experience humanity in everyday life do as well as – pardon the bombastic word – charity.

People who see themselves as an equal part of society, who feel they are in good hands and who trust in receiving help in difficult situations, will not shy away from a small risk in order to do the community and themselves a service. Only those intimidated, hounded and insecure act like this. That is the failure of all of us: That almost a third of its members no longer trust this society, smell lies, deceit and ambush everywhere. That they believe, yes, that they even believe that it is possible that they will be deceived, exploited, even slaughtered. It is sad.

We’re breaking the foundations

It has come to that. And do we now want to do violence to these seduced and deluded people, because we promise ourselves our salvation from it, the correction of our failures, the way out of the annoying pandemic, our cozy Christmas party? We would completely destroy trust, not only with those who doubt anyway. But also with those who confidently believe that prosperity, security and the future can only thrive in a pluralistic society of free individuals.

General compulsion on everyone without exception is the wrong way to go. The ends cannot be so good as to justify such means.

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