Germany’s military to drop mandatory Covid-19 vaccination requirement

Soldiers in the German armed forces will no longer be required to present proof of coronavirus vaccinations in future, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

A technical review by the authorities in the military, in conjunction with a vote by the Military Medical Advisory Board last week, has resulted in a move away from the obligation, a spokeswoman told dpa.

Germany’s military, known as the Bundeswehr, will still offer voluntary vaccinations to soldiers but no longer mandate them.

Regulations require soldiers to be vaccinated against a whole range of diseases unless there are special health reasons that would prevent a vaccination. Required vaccinations include hepatitis, measles, rubella, mumps and influenza.

On 24 November 2021, the Defence Ministry added mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations to the general service regulations.

Anyone who opposed the vaccination programme without medical or legal justification could expect disciplinary measures or consequences under employment law.

Germany’s top appeals court for administrative matters is also hearing a lawsuit over the coronavirus vaccination requirement in the Bundeswehr on Wednesday.

The soldier challenging the requirement in court has argued that requiring Covid-19 vaccinations as part of the military’s vaccination programme is unlawful.

The same court upheld the inclusion of the Covid-19 vaccine in the mandatory vaccination programme in a landmark decision nearly two years ago.

The decision, however, also called on the Defence Ministry to evaluate and monitor the vaccination requirement in light of changing circumstances.

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