The Austrian government, which is accelerating shock measures to control the rise in coronavirus infection cases that have hit the country, hopes to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory.
The decision, as an example to Europe, is catching the continent with a new wave that is forcing many states to urgently tighten health regulations.
Chancellor Alexander Shalenberg announced on Friday that Austria would adopt from the excavation 1.Is The following February, a very large section of the population refused to be vaccinated, forcing a retreat to impose fines.
The country, with a population of nine million, reported more than 15,000 cases of infection during the day, 64%, making it one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe.
“Significantly raising the vaccination rate is the only way we can get out of the vicious circle in which we are trapped … Many people lack solidarity through their behavior,” the chancellor said, announcing a new period of general detention. At least before the extension until mid-December.
He said people who had not been vaccinated by that date would be in custody.
The tightening of government policy has provoked criticism in the opposition ranks, especially quoting an elected official on the right, the British daily reported. The Guardian The country has been criticized for becoming a “dictatorship”.
Demonstrations are planned in Vienna on Saturday that Alan Green, a constitutional law and human rights expert affiliated with the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, is unlikely to overturn the decision by the courts.
In an interview with Press, The European Court of Human Rights is unlikely to rule against the Austrian government, the analyst said on Friday.
Since the outbreak, the tribunal has adopted a much less interventionist approach, leaving “widespread praise” for states to “find a balance between respect for individual rights and collective good protection,” he said. .
In a decision taken before the start of the pandemic that affected the Czech Republic, the court ruled that requesting that children be vaccinated against nine diseases before entering kindergarten was not an unjustified “interference with freedom.” To protect the health of others.
Mr Green said Austria would have to show that it had opted for the compulsory vaccine for the “proportionate” measure, which would reduce the violation of individual rights, especially by granting exemptions, for example to those who could not be vaccinated for medical treatment. Causes.
The imposition of special control measures on vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals can be seen in the same way, says a Birmingham University expert. Other states, such as Slovakia, have also indicated that they intend to adopt this approach.
Austria’s decision on the compulsory vaccine led to reservations from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday, saying it would prioritize strategies aimed at persuading the population rather than forcing it.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also stressed the need to prioritize “educational” policy, the agency told France-Press.
Currently, only a few countries officially make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory. This is especially true of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, which are subject to authoritarian rule, as well as Indonesia. However, it does not have a very high vaccination rate.
A large number of Western countries have imposed compulsory vaccination on specific professional organizations, especially in the health sector, but nothing has yet emerged to follow the Austrian leadership in targeting the entire population.
While this is controversial, the imposition of compulsory vaccination on a portion or the entire population is supported by a growing number of bioethicists, said Wardit Ravitsky, who teaches in the field at the School of Public Health from the University of Montreal.
Experts’ answers to the ethical questions raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, have evolved significantly as scientific knowledge about the virus has grown.
The importance of the risks posed by the virus to affected countries, especially by its potential impact on their health system, has changed the appearance of more transmissible variants and the impact analysis of vaccines, m.Me Ravitsky.
Imposing restrictions on non-vaccinated individuals, especially through vaccination passports, is now considered a viable policy by elected officials in many countries.
The acceptability of such actions from an ethical point of view depends on the severity of the restrictions imposed, says a professor at the University of Montreal who considers Austria’s coercive approach to vaccination to be “extreme”.
The debate on the issue is likely to intensify in Europe, with nine of the ten countries registering the largest acceleration in the number of COVID-19 cases this week. Only the United States has shown comparable growth. According to a census conducted by the agency France-Presse, other parts of the planet are relatively developed.
The WHO believes that the overall vaccination rate, which is sufficient to worsen the situation in Europe, has led to the rapid lifting of health restrictions and the advancement of the Delta variant.