Covid: mandatory vaccination as the last resort?

A growing number of European countries are seeing a surge in Covid infection rates and reintroducing restrictions. Because the vaccination quotas achieved so far have failed to prevent a new wave of infections, calls for mandatory vaccination are gaining momentum. Many governments had ruled such a measure out due to concerns about fundamental rights. Commentators discuss whether the time for this has come now.

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Kurier (AT) /

The state should put its foot down

A courageous announcement from above would help resolve the situation, says the Kurier:

“At this stage the aggression between advocates and opponents of vaccination is so great that the conflict can hardly be resolved by the population. The only thing that would help would be a governmental decree: a general obligation to get vaccinated. But politicians will never dare to do that. So we will probably continue to flounder around in the Covid swamp.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

A promise is a promise

A breach of promise could confirm many anti-vaxxers in their scepticism, the Süddeutsche Zeitung warns:

“Even before the first Covid-19 vaccines were produced the government had promised that there would be no mandatory vaccination. This promise has been repeated ever since. Breaking it would destroy trust even more than the pandemic has already done. All those who have not been vaccinated so far clearly don't think the virus is dangerous enough, and these people have been particularly critical of the government. They must now be able to rely on its word - or else they'll distance themselves even further from the state.”

The Times (GB) /

Mandatory vaccination shows we care

The Times welcomes the introduction of compulsory vaccination for staff in the care sector:

“It is true that social care faces a staffing crisis, exacerbated by Brexit. ... But postponing the deadline will not address the fundamental issue. It is wrong that the most vulnerable people should be cared for by those who, because of a refusal to be vaccinated, carry an increased risk of infecting them with the virus. Measures to improve conditions for the 1.5 million people working in the care sector are urgent. ... More will be needed to help care homes attract and retain staff in tight labour markets, including resources to improve wages. Residents of care homes should not face a choice between staff who pose a risk or no care at all.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

Don't give the government even more power

Echo of Moscow doesn't like the idea of the Russian state getting access to the bodies of its citizens:

“It looks like there is no other way to contain the pandemic apart from mandatory vaccination. ... But medical interventions are not permitted without our consent or that of close relatives. ... Allowing medical coercion in a case opens the door for arbitrary medical manipulation. Just as with the law on 'foreign agents' which was supposedly introduced to prevent hostile governments from exerting political influence, but in fact is now effectively penalisingthose who have transferred money from one account to another.”