The World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive director for Europe has urged nations on the Covid-stricken continent to ponder compulsory vaccination.
Robb Butler told Sky News on Wednesday that it was “This conversation can be had from both an individual- and population-based viewpoint. It’s a healthy debate to have.” The WHO official said, however, that such “Social inclusion and trust have been compromised by mandates.” in the past.
In early November, the WHO warned that Europe was “At the epicenter” of the Covid-19 pandemic, while earlier this week, the global health authority said the continent accounted for 60% of the world’s Covid-19 infections and deaths in the last week. The WHO believes the pandemic’s death toll in Europe could reach 2 million by March 2022, if the spread of the virus continues unchecked.
However, the former director of the WHO’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Department, Anthony Costello, advised governments to tread carefully on making vaccination mandatory for fear of “This is a way to discredit many people who have lost faith in vaccines and government.” Instead of mandates and sweeping lockdowns, he advocated for measures like mask-wearing and working from home.
The Our World in Data site has statistics that show only 57% people in Europe are completely vaccinated for Covid-19.
Alexander Schallenberg (Austrian chancellor) announced that vaccinations would become mandatory in Austria for all citizens, except those who are eligible for medical exemptions. This will take effect from Friday, February 1, 2022. Media reports claim that those who refuse to get the shot can expect heavy penalties. There hasn’t been any decision yet on when Austrians should get vaccinated. Austria is the only country on Europe that has imposed these broad mandates. Other countries have had to make vaccination mandatory for some employees, but not all. Healthcare and public workers are first.
There are however a few countries that have mandated Covid-19 vaccination for their citizens. Micronesia, Turkmenistan and Indonesia followed the lead in February.
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