DÄ internationalArchive6/2019Vehement Antivaccinationists Are the Cause
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Storr and colleagues in their article investigate barriers to vaccination and strategies for overcoming these (1). The fact that the critical vaccination coverage for measles has not been achieved in Germany is also due to the increasing numbers of vehement antivaccinationists .

These are hard to reach by means of information campaigns as they base their anti-vaccine attitudes on ideological convictions and are not open to technical and factual arguments. Vaccine skeptics are often of a higher educational status, in possession of “dangerous half-knowledge” with or without prior scientific-medical knowledge; they access “pseudoscientific” evidence and are falsely convinced that they are in a position to be able to assess scientific evidence without (as a rule) having any medical expertise. A further problem lies in the fact that successful vaccination campaigns in the past have resulted in vaccine-preventable diseases disappearing from the public’s consciousness, but that a stronger focus is now on (questionable) vaccination side effects (2).

With regard to introducing compulsory vaccination in Germany I wish to point out that this is contrary to the fundamental right to bodily integrity and self determination (article 2 in Germany’s Basic Law).

Paragraph 20 subparagraphs 6 and 7 of Germany’s Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz, IfSG) provide for the option to make vaccination compulsory in certain cases. Compulsory vaccination is fundamentally compatible with the Basic Law; a relevant judgment was passed as early as in 1959 (3).

However, the question arises as to how and whether such compulsory vaccination could be implemented—especially in the case of measles. The use of physical force is certainly out of the question. In view of the principle of therapy freedom, it is extremely difficult to tackle the problem of vaccine-sceptic primary care providers.

The question is whether doctors who refuse to provide vaccinations could be threatened with professional legal (or even penal/criminal) consequences if they knowingly continue to refuse to provide their patients (and the general public!) with a medical measure that has been confirmed as effective, and which can prevent serious complications and deaths.

DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2019.0096a

Dr. med. Benedikt Lampl

Gesundheitsamt Regensburg

benedikt.lampl@lra-regensburg.de

1.
Storr C, Sanftenberg L, Schelling J, Heininger U, Schneider A: Measles status—barriers to vaccination and strategies for overcoming them. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2018; 115: 723–30 VOLLTEXT
2.
Meyer C, Reiter S, Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin: Impfgegner und Impfskeptiker – Geschichte, Hintergründe, Thesen, Umgang. Bundesgesundheitsbl – Gesundheitsforsch – Gesundheitsschutz 2004 · 47: 1182–8 .
3.
Erdle F: Infektionsschutzgesetz – Kommentar. (6th edition), Landsberg am Lech. ecomed Medizin 2018, 77.
1.Storr C, Sanftenberg L, Schelling J, Heininger U, Schneider A: Measles status—barriers to vaccination and strategies for overcoming them. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2018; 115: 723–30 VOLLTEXT
2.Meyer C, Reiter S, Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin: Impfgegner und Impfskeptiker – Geschichte, Hintergründe, Thesen, Umgang. Bundesgesundheitsbl – Gesundheitsforsch – Gesundheitsschutz 2004 · 47: 1182–8 .
3.Erdle F: Infektionsschutzgesetz – Kommentar. (6th edition), Landsberg am Lech. ecomed Medizin 2018, 77.

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