Germany's top court OKs vaccine mandate for health workers

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's top court said Thursday it has approved rules requiring health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Federal Constitutional Court announced that it had rejected complaints against the measure, arguing that the importance of protecting vulnerable people in hospitals and care homes outweighs any infringement of health workers' rights.

The limited mandate came into effect in mid-March. The constitutional court had previously refused to issue an injunction blocking its implementation while it reached a final decision.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach welcomed Thursday's ruling, saying in a statement that “the state is obliged to protect vulnerable groups.” He thanked health facilities that have implemented the mandate, arguing that they have helped prevent more deaths from the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz initially wanted to extend the vaccine mandate to all adults, but even a proposal to impose one on people aged 60 and above was .