Is it legal for someone to be vaccinated against their will in Germany and Austria?

Are there reasonable circumstances, under which this would be legal (e. g. if the government declares martial law and civil law is suspended)?

My question is different from these 2 (1, 2) because it is about Germany and Austria (not US).

2 Answers 2


Yes and no

In Germany, the first case where vaccination was mandatory was Smallpox. The Bundesverwaltungsgericht had adjudicated back in Juli 1959 – I C 170.56 - that mandatory Vaccination (Impfpflicht) against Smallpox follows the Impfgesetz of 1874 (RGBl. S. 31) which was declared a) still good law and b) in line with the Grundgesetz and so enforced vaccination of everybody who had no counterindication was inside the law.

Currently, the measles are under mandatory vaccination with the MasernschutzgesetzInformation, german aka IFSG § 20law, german (Measles are listed in Abs 8). The same rationale and legal basis from those two can be applied to theoretically any other vaccination - if it is comparably terrible. The Masernschutzgesetz declares that without MMR vaccination you can't work in some jobs, like as a medical care worker, teacher or in a Kindergarten, and you can't be enrolled in a school or Kindergarten, unless you have a counterindication. Note that you do need to visit a public school, so the Masernschutzgesetz is total mandatory vaccination against measles for kids.

The 2020 update on the law of infectious diseases (Gesetz zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Infektionskrankheiten beim Menschen. short: Infektionsschutzgesetz/IFSG, see above) still (and actually did since the measles change in 2019) open the door to make some vaccination mandatory exceeding the measles in IFSG §20 Abs 6 - for especially vulnerable parts of the population:

Das Bundesministerium für Gesundheit wird ermächtigt, durch Rechtsverordnung mit Zustimmung des Bundesrates anzuordnen, dass bedrohte Teile der Bevölkerung an Schutzimpfungen oder anderen Maßnahmen der spezifischen Prophylaxe teilzunehmen haben, wenn eine übertragbare Krankheit mit klinisch schweren Verlaufsformen auftritt und mit ihrer epidemischen Verbreitung zu rechnen ist. Personen, die auf Grund einer medizinischen Kontraindikation nicht an Schutzimpfungen oder an anderen Maßnahmen der spezifischen Prophylaxe teilnehmen können, können durch Rechtsverordnung nach Satz 1 nicht zu einer Teilnahme an Schutzimpfungen oder an anderen Maßnahmen der spezifischen Prophylaxe verpflichtet werden. § 15 Abs. 2 gilt entsprechend.

The general gist of that paragraph is: Following a regulated process, people that are vulnerable and under a present and current risk of an epidemic and that do not have counterindication can be mandated to undergo prophylactic treatment, which can include or be a specific vaccination.


So yes, there is mandatory vaccination in , but currently not for everyone but based on certain criteria.

  • 1
    Masernschutzgesetz and the Infektionsschutzgesetz paragraph 20... Gimmie 20 to get you links and the relevant BVG adjuication for smallpox
    – Trish
    Nov 27, 2020 at 13:32
  • 1
    @Mentiflectax included, updated, linked to the currently relevant law (german)
    – Trish
    Nov 27, 2020 at 14:00
  • 1
    @Mentiflectax If you still wonder which parts of the population are going to be affected by mandatory vaccinations: That is yet to be determined by the Bundesministerium für Gesundheit and to be greenlit by the Bundesrat. So far the law gives them the authority to make a decision in this regard, but they didn't do so yet (or if they decided, they didn't publish it yet).
    – Philipp
    Nov 27, 2020 at 14:51
  • 1
    BTW the requirement for smallpox vaccination ended some time end of the 19070s (when smallpox were declared eradicated by the WHO). IIRC, the RKI (federal institute for infectious diseases, who also host the expert committee on vaccination recommendations) advised against making measles vaccination mandatory. Reasons being that enforcement can backfire, together with measles not being as dangerous as e.g. smallpox (with close to 1 death out of every 3 cases) and the relevant unvaccinated subpopulation being adults who were vaccinated as kid when there wasn't yet a 2nd vaccination... Nov 28, 2020 at 15:53
  • 1
    @cbeleitesunhappywithSX 1978. It was 1978 when the smallpox vaccination was deemed no longer needed as smallpox was eradicated by 1977.
    – Trish
    Feb 7, 2022 at 21:15

It seems pretty clear that the Nuremburg Code was enacted specifically to forbid FORCED vaccinations.


Points 1 and 9 specifically say that vaccines cannot be forced on anyone and other parts bring up questions of sufficient testing on animals and other legal points that would prevent a vaccine that was prepared for a virus that came out in, say 2019, from being considered safe from harmful side-effects.

  • just that it is not a law,
    – Trish
    May 7, 2021 at 10:14

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