Mandatory vaccines should be a no-go, petition urges
Covid-19 vaccines should not become mandatory in Luxembourg and the government should allow alternative treatments to fight the virus, two petitions which opened for signatures on Thursday urge, just a day after the country’s new measures clamping down on the unvaccinated came into effect.
One of the petitions calls on lawmakers to continue to allow everyone to choose whether they get vaccinated against the deadly virus, even though Luxembourg's government has to date ruled out making vaccinations obligatory.
Earlier this week parliament adopted the new Covid rules, which include scrapping free PCR tests and introducing the CovidCheck system for hospital patients and visitors.
The government’s aim is to encourage more people to be vaccinated in the hope that people “will tell themselves that vaccinations are more convenient” than having to pay for a PCR test every time they need to present a CovidCheck certificate, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has said.
Making vaccines mandatory is a “hindrance to individual freedom and human rights”, the petition states. It also calls on the government not to discriminate between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.
“We absolutely must give citizens a free choice in the medical field," wrote Christelle Pizzirulli, who launched the petition. “For the free choice of citizens to decide what they want to do or don’t want to do for their health.”
Luxembourg's Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CCDH) have criticised the government's new rules, saying it feared that taking away free PCR tests would discriminate against those who cannot get a vaccine for medical reasons.
The petition also comes after Italy said on Thursday that workers in the country’s private and public sectors will have to have a Covid passport before entering the workplace from October 15 or risk facing fines of €1,500.
Just under 65% of Luxembourg's population have received at least one dose, statistics from Oxford University's Our World in Data showed last week. Only around 3% of people in Luxembourg are against the virus but many remain hesitant and others have not got round to going for a jab, the government's top health advisor, Dr Jean-Claude Schmit, said this week.
Schmit does not believe ministers will push for mandatory vaccines for everyone but may move towards compulsory jabs if they do not succeed in encouraging many of the unvaccinated to get injected.
“I can’t exclude that at some point…the political opinion will shift and we will go towards mandatory vaccination for certain groups of people”, he said, adding that any such decision would first of all likely involve healthcare workers and carers who are in contact with vulnerable people.
Another petition, which has also opened for signatures, calls on the government to "authorise alternative treatment" for Covid-19, such as Hydroxychloroquine used to treat malaria, despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) website stating it does not recommend the medication to prevent Covid-19 or to treat the virus.
Trials carried out on people who did not have the virus showed that using hydroxychloroquine for prevention “had little or no effect on preventing illness, hospitalisation or death from Covid-19” and trials on Covid-19 patients showed it “did not reduce mortality, the need for or duration of mechanical ventilation”, according to the WHO website.
Both petitions will need to garner more than the minimum threshold of 4,500 signatures by the end of October in order to be discussed in parliament, which would be the first step for the motions potentially becoming law.