Catholics vaccinate their children

Vaccinate? A question of charity

Jens Spahn is serious: The Federal Minister of Health wants to make measles vaccinations compulsory for children. His bill stipulates that parents can be asked to pay up to 2,500 euros if they refuse their children vaccination protection. There is also a risk of exclusion from attending a daycare center. Spahn relies on figures from the Robert Koch Institute. Accordingly, at least 95 percent of the population must have two measles vaccinations for the disease to be considered eradicated. The vaccination rate among children is currently a good 93 percent - and according to the Robert Koch Institute that is not enough. In fact, the number of measles cases has recently continued to rise, with 170 new cases by the beginning of March alone.

In his own party, Spahn received a lot of approval for his move. CDU boss Kramp-Karrenbauer said whether you let your children be vaccinated is a very personal question. However, measles are so dangerous that they consider a mandatory vaccination to be the right thing to do. Those who do not have their children vaccinated are also putting others at risk. Approval also came from the coalition partner SPD and from doctors' representatives. Approval has also come from the ranks of the Catholic family associations in Germany. The chairman of the Catholic Parenthood in Germany, Marie-Theres Kastner, told the “Tagespost” that, in her opinion, “in the interests of the common good, compulsory vaccination is very useful”. She compares the measure with the TÜV, which is due every two years for the car - just as you get a badge there, there should be a stamp in the vaccination certificate when the child comes to a large institution, for example a daycare center. The President of the Catholic Family Association, Ulrich Hoffmann, argues similarly. Anyone who refrains from measles vaccination is not only endangering their own children, but also others. He, too, sees compulsory vaccination as positive, as he said when asked by the “daily mail”. However, it makes more sense to persuade parents than threatening to fines. Marie-Theres Kastner is skeptical about this. Until 2010 she worked as a CDU member of the state parliament in North Rhine-Westphalia in the child and youth sector. In her opinion, the fact that such drastic measures are now being taken is not because politicians were asleep. Instead, parents would not have informed themselves or simply hoped that "nothing would happen". Information was given for a long time, but appeals alone had no effect. It may come as a surprise that Catholic family associations are now also advocating a measure that interferes not only with the physical integrity of the children, but also with the parents' right to an upbringing. Christian associations in particular have always upheld parental rights. Both family bonds and Catholic parenting do not want to move away from it. In fact, parental rights have always been valued very highly, emphasizes Family Association President Hoffmann. Marie-Theres Kastner adds: “Parents have duties and responsibilities.” And in the sense of this responsibility - also towards the children of other parents - the interference with parental rights is minor in this case. Having one's children vaccinated is also a matter of Christian charity. However, how the state should deal with parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated against measles, especially for religious reasons, the views of the two association chairmen differ. Marie-Theres Kastner is rigorous here: "If we introduce compulsory vaccination, it applies to everyone." Anyone who has a child has to protect it from disease as best it can. Accordingly, she rejects exceptions for religious parents. Ulrich Hoffmann from the Familienbund is more cautious. It is correct to exclude unvaccinated children from attending daycare. Other children are at risk here, so he understands this measure. If parents refuse a vaccination for reasons of conscience, he wants to continue to rely on conviction instead of immediately threatening to fines.

Your opinion on this topic on the homepage