Germany scraps a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for military servicepeople

BERLIN (AP) — Germany has scrapped a requirement for its military servicepeople to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a mandate that had been in place since late 2021, the government said Wednesday.

People serving with the German military, the Bundeswehr, are required to get vaccinations against a number of diseases — including measles, mumps and flu — so long as individuals have no specific health issues to prevent that.

COVID-19 was added to the list in November 2021, meaning that anyone who refused to get vaccinated against it could face disciplinary measures.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has now dropped the COVID-19 requirement following recommendations from the Bundeswehr’s chief medical officer and a military medical advisory committee, ministry spokesperson Mitko Müller said. It has been replaced by a strong recommendation to get the vaccine.

News of the decision came as Germany’s Federal Administrative Court considered a complaint by a noncommissioned officer in the navy against the continued vaccination requirement.

Germany contemplated a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all adults in the country in late 2021 and early 2022, but some government lawmakers and most of the opposition balked at the idea.

In April 2022, lawmakers rejected a narrower bill that would have required all people 60 and over to be vaccinated.

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