Experts call for Switzerland to make COVID vaccinations mandatory
Medical experts from across Switzerland have called for COVID vaccinations to be made mandatory, amid rising infections and the threat of another lockdown. The experts hope to follow Austria in mandating vaccines for the general public, but voices within the government are already playing down the idea.
Mandatory vaccination beneficial to Swiss health system, experts say
Neuroscientist Dominique de Quervain has predicted that many other nations will introduce mandatory vaccination in the future, “because the benefits for the health system and the economy for those countries that do will become more evident in time.”
He said that, from a scientific perspective, unvaccinated people were a disproportionate burden on the healthcare system. However, he did concede that the decision would be “the task of politics,” and hoped that Switzerland would still be able to “close the vaccination gap.”
De Quervain’s thoughts were echoed by other experts. Isabella Eckerle, a virologist based in Geneva, said that the Federal Council should at least have a discussion about so-called “2G” restrictions (restricting entry to non-essential businesses to those who are vaccinated against or recovering from COVID-19), and identify which jobs should require mandatory vaccination. Current polling by 20 minuten puts support for mandatory vaccination for medical staff at 61 percent.
Mandatory vaccination remains controversial in Switzerland
The idea of mandatory vaccination has proven to be controversial in Switzerland in the past. Even before the recent comments, the Freedom Movement Switzerland group had already gathered 100.000 signatures against any move towards mandatory vaccination. This would be more than enough to trigger a referendum on the subject.
In the halls of power in Bern, there has also been some hesitation. National Councillor Roger Nordmann said he understood the frustration of those who are vaccinated, but said a mandate may push the unvaccinated to further radicalisation.
"We can hardly force anyone to vaccinate," said Nordmann, who noted that 2G or “symbolic measures” like lockdowns for the unvaccinated will only turn more people against the government. National Councillor Verena Herzog, who once attempted to make the flu jab compulsory, said, "a mandatory COVID vaccination is not enforceable in Switzerland."