German Ethics Council advisor wants mandatory Covid jabs for teachers

Wolfram Henn, a human geneticist who sits on the German Ethics Council, is calling on the government to make Covid vaccination compulsory for teachers and day-care workers.

German Ethics Council advisor wants mandatory Covid jabs for teachers
A school pupil puts his hand up in class at the Fritz Carsen School in the Berlin district of Britz. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

“Anyone who chooses of their own free will to work with vulnerable people takes on a special professional responsibility,” he told regional paper Rheinische Post. 

“We need mandatory vaccination for personnel in schools and nurseries.”

At present, the EU-approved vaccines are only permitted for over-12s. While adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 are able to get a jab, however, Germany’s Standing Vaccines Commission has not yet issued a firm recommendation that they do so – unless they have a pre-existing condition that might make them particularly vulnerable to Covid. 

According to Henn, teachers and nursery workers have an obligation to protect the children they work with – especially those under 12.

Although children are considered to have a fairly low risk of getting seriously ill from Covid, they can still bring home the virus to their families, he added.


On Sunday, French media sources reported that the country’s public health advisor was calling on the government to introduce mandatory vaccination for medical professionals. President Macron is expected to make an announcement on this on Monday evening.

Speaking to Rheinische Post, Henn said that people who have professional contact with other vulnerable groups should also have a compulsory jab. 

The move would particularly protect those who are undergoing intense courses of treatment for diseases such as cancer, or who are otherwise unable to get a vaccine due to their weakened immune system, he said.

First jabs sink to February levels

With almost 60 percent of the German population having received at least one shot, the vaccination drive continues to drag it feet.

On Monday, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) tweeted to say that physicians had administered “as few first doses… as in February,” when Germany was struggling to gets its inoculation campaign off the ground. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Covid vaccine demand is dropping in Germany

“Unlike February, we now have enough vaccines,” Spahn added. “The fact remains: please get vaccinated!”

According to the governmental vaccination tracker, just over 221,000 people in Germany received a jab on Sunday.

That’s around a sixth of the daily jabs that Germany was achieving when the campaign finally picked up pace in May. 

READ ALSO: Germany vaccinates record number of people in one day

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Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

Parents with Arabic-sounding names get a less friendly response and less help when choosing schools in Sweden, according to a new study from the University of Uppsala.

Schools in Sweden discriminate against parents with Arabic names: study

In one of the largest discrimination experiments ever carried out in the country, 3,430 primary schools were contacted via email by a false parent who wanted to know more about the school. The parent left information about their name and profession.

In the email, the false parent stated that they were interested in placing their child at the school, and questions were asked about the school’s profile, queue length, and how the application process worked. The parent was either low-educated (nursing assistant) or highly educated (dentist). Some parents gave Swedish names and others gave “Arabic-sounding” names.

The report’s author, Jonas Larsson Taghizadeh said that the study had demonstrated “relatively large and statistically significant negative effects” for the fictional Arabic parents. 

“Our results show that responses to emails signed with Arabic names from school principals are less friendly, are less likely to indicate that there are open slots, and are less likely to contain positive information about the school,” he told The Local. 

READ ALSO: Men with foreign names face job discrimination in Sweden: study

The email responses received by the fictional Arabic parents were rated five percent less friendly than those received by the fictional Swedish parents, schools were 3.2 percentage points less likely to tell Arabic parents that there were open slots at the school, and were 3.9 percentage points less likely to include positive information about the municipality or the school. 

There was no statistically significant difference in the response rate and number of questions answered by schools to Swedish or Arabic-sounding parents. 

Taghizadeh said that there was more discrimination against those with a low social-economic status job than against those with an Arabic name, with the worst affected group being those who combined the two. 

“For socioeconomic discrimination, the results are similar, however, here the discrimination effects are somewhat larger,” he told The Local. 

Having a high economic status profession tended to cancel out the negative effects of having an Arabic name. 

“The discrimination effects are substantially important, as they could potentially indirectly influence parents’ school choice decision,” Taghizadeh said.

Investigating socioeconomic discrimination is also important in itself, as discrimination is seldom studied and as explicit discrimination legislation that bans class-based discrimination is rare in Western countries including Sweden, in contrast to laws against ethnic discrimination.”