Professor Alena Buyx


Professor of Ethics in Medicine and Health Technologies at Technical University Munich, Chair of the German Ethics Council

Prof. Alena Buyx Copyright: © Reiner Zensen

Young People Must Again Be Given More Freedoms

It is crucial to finally put the interests of young people center stage, who have had to take a back seat for so long in the pandemic. They must again be given more freedoms and opportunities. By that I don't just mean the 12- to 15-year-olds, but also trainees, students, high school graduates, and young adults. [...]

This group in particular has long been considerate of those who have been prioritized for protection from infection. The young have borne a considerable part of the burden of this pandemic so far. Now it is necessary to give them something back - including the offer to get vaccinated. In ethics, we call this reciprocity. [...]

If one group makes a higher contribution, this leads to tensions in the long term – unless there is some form of compensation at some point: the balance needs to be redressed. That is the principle of reciprocity. The principle of solidarity in our insurance system is also based on this idea. The healthy pay in advance. But this only works if they receive care when they themselves become ill. The pension system works in a similar way.

“I would have my children vaccinated right away.” (ZEIT Online, May 27, 2021)