“Vaccination obligation or not vaccination obligation”, that is currently the question. Plasberg dedicates “Hard but fair” entirely to the debate. It becomes clear: Once again, the Corona future is uncertain.
Berlin – Manu Dreyer can’t take a dig at CSU boss Markus Söder* in “Hard but fair”*. Plasberg had shortly before addressed the turnaround in Bavarian corona policy announced in the Munich newspaper – Söder had changed course from “Team Caution” to “Broader Approach”*.
“Miraculous turns in Mr. Söder are no surprises for me,” says Dreyer to the amusement of the group and promptly gets rid of her fat herself. Editor-in-Chief Michael Bröcker refreshes her memory: “Last summer you said: Vaccination is absolutely not compulsory. So you too have made a turn.” “That’s right,” admits Dreyer sheepishly and later adds: “It was a learning curve”.
“Hard but fair” – these guests discussed with:
- Malu Dreyer (SPD) – Prime Minister of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate
- Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus (FDP) – Member of the Bundestag, health policy spokeswoman for the FDP parliamentary group
- Prof. Dr. Timo Ulrichs – Professor for international emergency and disaster relief at the Berlin akkon University of Human Sciences
- Prof. Dr. Malte Thiessen – Head of the LWL Institute for Westphalian regional history
- Michael Broecker – Editor-in-Chief of Media Pioneer GmbH
The discussion about compulsory vaccination is in mined territory. The coalition is divided on the issue. Statements of protest masked as “walks” and exploited by right-wing extremist and radical groups* contain social explosives.
FDP health expert Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus makes the point of view of her group on this “highly ethical question” clear at Plasberg and receives support from The Pioneer-Editor-in-chief and podcaster Michael Bröcker. Aschenberg-Dugnus: “There always has to be the right balance between health protection and the freedom that you have to have.” The journalist Bröcker, who himself fell seriously ill with Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic and never tires of it On the other hand, the program to emphasize the importance of vaccination says sentences that opponents of vaccination would also like: “The obligation to vaccinate is almost like a panic action by politicians, which unfortunately does not reach the goal”. His convincing argument: “Vaccination does not eradicate the virus.” A vaccination requirement is therefore legally untenable.
“Hard but fair”: Dreyer warns of “total uprising”
Prime Minister Malu Dreyer nevertheless speaks to the heart of the majority of the population and those responsible in politics, who want and need rapid implementation – especially with regard to the coming winter half-year, when vaccination protection is expected to decrease again. Dreyer makes it clear that this is only possible through strong “immunization of the population” and that the “vaccination gap” must be closed. If that doesn’t happen, according to the SPD politician, there will be a “total uprising among the population” because we “can’t get the pandemic under control”.
Their position is underpinned by the statements made by Timo Ulrichs. The virologist gives the warning and is certain that compulsory vaccination is the only way to get out of the endless loop of new corona waves. Ulrichs thinks that not vaccinating is “unfair” to other sick people, whose treatment is being blocked by corona intensive care patients, who can often be prevented by vaccination.
Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach* (SPD) – absent from the show, but speaking via a single player – makes his warning contribution: “It is quite possible that we will be dealing with a mutated Delta type in the fall,” so the federal minister. Ulrichs appeals for forward-looking action: “We haven’t done our homework yet.” And “should see that we come to potte”.
Corona: Graphics for Saxony and Bremen throw virologists out of the concept
A graphic that Plasberg imports causes head scratching: comparative figures for the city-state of Bremen – with the highest vaccination rate in the republic – but also the highest number of infections. In contrast, there are the figures from the Free State of Saxony, which is known to have the most vaccine-skeptical population – but also a low incidence of 249 at the moment.
Ulrichs is supposed to explain that and considers the circumstance to be a “snapshot” that could be different if Omikron also reached Saxony. Malu Dreyer questions the too simple statement of the numbers: High infection numbers – especially with omicron – are no longer the criterion, but the severe courses and these are not apparent from these statistics.
On the basis of the different possible interpretations, Bröcker warns those responsible not to gamble away the trust of citizens with the introduction of compulsory vaccination, who had recently been promised the opposite – especially since the progress of the pandemic is unclear *. Politicians will only bite their teeth on the “hard core” of the refusers. Aschenberg-Dugnus adds that an obligation increases people’s “diffuse fears” about vaccination instead of taking them away. So nothing is gained with that.
Plasberg interviews historians: The history of those opposed to vaccination goes back to the German Empire
Plasberg once again lets an expert speak – this time a historian. Malte Thießen has researched the history of vaccination and is also skeptical about mandatory vaccination: “Even in the authoritarian empire, people shied away from compulsory vaccination,” says the professor. At that time there were “frightening parallels” to the present – including “anti-vaccination clubs”, “homeopathy supporters”, “aluminium hats” and “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories”. In his opinion, compulsory vaccination has always been a “blunt sword” that has the power to “create a mood” and a “culture of distrust” but also “allow the counterfeiting industry” to flourish.
The fact that people – despite the enormous success of vaccinations – sometimes criticize them in this way has to do with the fact that serious diseases such as smallpox or tuberculosis have disappeared from people’s awareness. The irony of history: “Vaccinations are to some extent victims of their own successes,” the historian sums up.
Conclusion of the “hard but fair” talk
“When will this pandemic end for you,” Plasberg asks his guests at the end. Journalist Bröcker also makes Plasberg laugh with his statement free of the liver: “If the talk show no longer discusses Corona”. But this is especially true for social media. There, many viewers vented during the show on the Twitter channel, especially under Dreyer’s statement. The opinions there too: split. (Verena Schulemann)