Markus Lohi, chairman of the Finnish parliament’s Social Affairs and Health Committee, has said he will not support a European Union-wide vaccine mandate.
The Finnish politician made his comments in reaction to a proposal by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who called for the mandatory vaccination of all citizens of the European Union to be considered earlier this week.
“I am generally very sceptical about coercion, and I think we can reach an adequate vaccination rate by other means. Nor would we reach 100 per cent by force,” Lohi said, adding that such a move could infringe on fundamental constitutional rights, newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reports.
“If the issue comes up, the Constitutional Affairs Committee must look at it very carefully, but there are better solutions,” Lohi said, warning that such a policy would further divide those who are vaccinated and those who remain unvaccinated.
“Chinafication of Europe” https://t.co/tYPHQlwSUl
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European Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen announced her support for considering a mandatory vaccine policy earlier in the week, saying: “How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union, this needs discussion.”
While mandatory vaccinations have been seen in several countries in professions such as healthcare, so far only Austria has proposed making vaccines mandatory for the general population as of February of next year.
Austrians who refuse to take a vaccine could face fines of up to €7,200 and some have reported that the unvaccinated could even face the possibility of prison time.
In Greece, where the vaccine was initially made mandatory for healthcare workers, the government announced a policy this week that mandates all residents over the age of 60 to be fully vaccinated or face €100 (£85/$113) fines every month.
Germany’s incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is set to be confirmed as head of government next week, has also stated that he backs the idea of mandatory vaccines for all, saying that he will vote for such a proposal in the German parliament.
On Thursday, outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the parliament will vote on mandatory vaccines, noting that the she would vote for the policy herself if she was still a member of the German parliament.
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