Vaccination for soldiers: RKI expert emphasizes effectiveness

corona
Vaccination for soldiers: RKI expert emphasizes effectiveness

Corona vaccination

A doctor vaccinates a woman against Corona. Photo: Moritz Frankenberg/dpa/symbol image

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Two officers of the Air Force refuse the actually mandatory corona vaccination and go before the Federal Administrative Court. They doubt the effectiveness of the vaccines and see a danger in the serum. There is no end in sight to the legal dispute.

In a lawsuit about compulsory corona vaccination in the Bundeswehr, an expert from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) underlined the effectiveness of the vaccination. “Protection against a serious illness is very stable and only slightly decreasing six months after the booster, even with the omicron variant,” said the head of vaccination prevention at the RKI, Ole Wichmann, on Tuesday before the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. The protection against a mild course or transmission decreases significantly over time.

Two Air Force officers are opposed to the inclusion of the corona vaccination in a list of vaccinations that are mandatory for soldiers. Above all, they see their fundamental right to physical integrity violated (Az.: BVerwG 1 WB 2.22, BVerwG 1 WB 5.22). The 1st Military Service Senate of the Federal Administrative Court is responsible for the procedure in the first and last instance.

The officers’ lawyers questioned whether the corona vaccination was suitable for preventing communicable diseases. They also doubted that Covid-19 was even a dangerous disease – especially for the professional group of soldiers. Among other things, the lawyers accused the RKI of not considering or manipulating certain data for an assessment.

The doctor and epidemiologist at the RKI based his information on RKI studies and international surveys in addition to the reporting data from the health authorities. The RKI intends to present current data on the effectiveness of the vaccines in about two weeks. “But nothing will change in terms of protection against severe courses,” emphasized Wichmann.

In addition, the head of the drug safety department at the Paul Ehrlich Institute commented on the side effects of the vaccines used. There are currently around 290,000 reported side effects, of which around 30,000 are serious, explained Dirk Mentzer. A more detailed explanation was attempted for the 2,800 deaths associated with the vaccination.

However, this would not have resulted in any risk signals that could be interpreted as a warning against a vaccine. The expert rejected the accusation by the officers’ lawyers that the PEI was covering up unwanted reports and glossing over the security report. However, he criticized the fact that extensive patient data was still not made available to the PEI by the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.

The second day of the hearing developed into an hour-long dialogue between the experts and the officers’ lawyers. The trial representatives of the Federal Ministry of Defense held back completely. “We still think there is no alternative to vaccination. Especially against the background of the Bundeswehr’s operational capability,” said senior government director Andy Rothammel on the sidelines of the negotiation.

The hearing was only interrupted after nine hours on Tuesday evening and should be continued on Wednesday. It is still unclear whether a decision will then be announced.

Soldiers have to be vaccinated against a whole range of diseases if there are no particular health reasons not to do so. These include hepatitis, measles, rubella, mumps and influenza. On November 24, 2021, the Ministry of Defense made a Covid-19 vaccination mandatory. Disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who disobeys the vaccination schedule. According to a preliminary survey by the Ministry of Defense, the proportion of vaccinated and recovered soldiers who are currently fully immunized is 94 percent.

dpa

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