There are good reasons why employers in Germany do not have access to the medical data of their employees. And yet the coalition’s decision to allow companies in certain areas to ask their employees whether they have been vaccinated against Corona is absolutely correct.
This pandemic has called into question many supposed certainties. It has led society to renegotiate the relationship between freedom and security from the ground up – a damned painful process for all sides. Because regardless of whether the discussion is about curfews, compulsory masks, vaccinations or, as is now the case, revealing the vaccination status, the core question is always: How much security can you ask for, how much risk do you have to endure? And, more importantly, to what extent can you expose your own fear or innocence to others?
An obligation to provide information for people who work in schools, nursing homes or daycare centers is the absolute minimum of measures that would be appropriate. Because whoever works with the youngest or the oldest has to do with precisely those groups that cannot adequately protect themselves against the coronavirus. There is no approved vaccination for children under the age of twelve, and many older people can no longer develop adequate vaccination protection because of a weakened immune system. So you need to be protected by those around you.
This is about two things: morality and business administration
The decision for a job in school, daycare or nursing home is one of the most honorable decisions that people can make. It is all the more difficult to understand if precisely these employees do not get vaccinated. How does that actually fit in with the protective nature of your profession? At least informing the employer about an existing risk is absolutely reasonable. Only in this way can the operator at least try to minimize the risk: through protective measures, which we hope will then be meticulously controlled. Or by distributing vaccinated and unvaccinated employees in such a way that risk contacts are reduced as much as possible.
In addition to the moral aspect, there is also an economic one: who would place their very old relatives in a care facility where they are cared for by unvaccinated people? To give the operators at least the chance to promise the greatest possible level of security through clever planning is only fair.
Granted, those who are more concerned about workers’ rights than fear of the virus have strong arguments on their side. Yes, such an obligation to provide information carries the risk of not remaining the exception, but the beginning of a development – it is therefore essential to ensure that the right to self-determination and privacy is not eroded in general. An important signal is to link the obligation to provide information to the determination of the “epidemic situation”.
Corona has changed the view of a lot. Enduring the fear of others, whether it is the fear of the virus or the fear of restricted freedom: That is the great challenge of our time.