The first vaccines against the coronavirus are likely to be on the market soon and raise the question of whether there will soon be a legal obligation to vaccinate employees and customers in many areas of the working world.
Volker Römermann, professor at the law faculty at Humboldt University in Berlin, thinks this is unlikely. He said that now in a conversation with the “Spiegel”. According to Römermann, the employer must be able to prove that he can no longer employ employees without a vaccination due to health consequences.
Due to the current, very effective protective measures, such as masks and distance rules, this is difficult to prove, says Römermann. In addition, employees and customers would first have to agree to a vaccination requirement, as this represents a subsequent change to the contract.
In practice, this problem is shown by the Australian airline Qantas, which is currently trying to introduce a vaccination light for future passengers. Although planes do not actually have to take certain passengers who pose a danger with them, the problem is that “the virus (…) threatens the other guests, but not the safety of the specific flight,” said Römermann to the “Spiegel”. .
Airlines and other public transport cannot simply exclude people from transport.
In addition, customers can currently sue against compulsory vaccination. Because before this could be implemented, the airline had to prove that previous measures had been taken, which, however, did not adequately protect the passengers. This means that previously, for example, there was more distance on the plane and fewer guests than usual. According to Römermann, it is not legally possible to introduce mandatory vaccines as an airline, just to save.
Qantas could argue that compulsory vaccination would allow more passengers to travel again, but the amount of the vaccine is currently still limited and should first be distributed to risk groups, not to passengers.
Other public means of transport such as Deutsche Bahn are also not allowed to exclude people from transport.
Nevertheless, a general, statutory vaccination requirement is not unlikely.
This means that in practice it is currently difficult for employers to enforce mandatory vaccinations for employees and customers. Nevertheless, the lawyer does not completely rule out a general, statutory vaccination light in the future. Because the current Infection Protection Act keeps this option open. Only people for whom the vaccination would pose health risks would be exempt from compulsory vaccination. In theory, a general vaccination light could actually be introduced.
At the moment, however, this seems difficult to implement and is not necessary due to the conventional protective measures. It is much more likely that some countries will first set a vaccination against the coronavirus as an entry criterion, as with other diseases.