Luxembourgh Times

State Council further stalls plan for compulsory Covid jabs

The government has shelved the mandate for now but wants to get the legislation ready if the pandemic worsens

The expert panel advising the government had recommended the introduction of a vaccine mandate for over-50s

The expert panel advising the government had recommended the introduction of a vaccine mandate for over-50s © Photo credit: Guy Jallay/Luxemburger Wort

Luxembourg's State Council has further stalled a plan for compulsory Covid-19 jabs for those aged 50 and over, which was already struggling to get off the ground, after refusing to provide the government with a legal opinion on the proposals.

The de facto upper chamber declined to provide its views when asked last week, claiming that it can only issue a legal opinion on a set of specific questions or on formal draft bills, broadcaster RTL reported on Friday.

The text that the government had sent to the State Council for consideration was a so-called pre-draft law, or avant-projet de loi, which did not outline why a vaccine mandate was necessary, a procedure which Justice Minister Sam Tanson admitted was "unusual". Any draft bill must contain a clause that outlines why the government believes the legislation should come into force in the first place.

The government will instead send a list of questions to the State Council, seeking views on a range of matters, including under what conditions a mandate could be introduced and what sanctions holdouts could face, RTL said, citing Prime Minister Xavier Bettel's chief of staff Jeff Feller.

The State Council's refusal may change little in practice, though, as the government said in July that it was shelving the plan for mandatory vaccinations against Covid-19 for those aged 50 and above, as the current strain of the virus does not warrant the measure anymore. That decision went against the recommendation of an expert panel.

Other European countries have also scrapped plans for mandatory jabs.

Earlier this week Health Minister Paulette Lenert said there would be no need for further restrictions in Luxembourg later this year if the Omicron variant, which is more transmissible but less lethal than the original Wuhan strain, prevails.

The government is seeking to get a law for mandatory vaccinations ready to go should the pandemic worsen again this winter, Bettel said last month.