The vice-president of the Zug cantonal parliament, Martin B. Lehmann, died on Thursday after he shot himself at his holiday home in Ticino.

"/> The vice-president of the Zug cantonal parliament, Martin B. Lehmann, died on Thursday after he shot himself at his holiday home in Ticino.

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Top cantonal politician found dead

The vice-president of the Zug cantonal parliament, Martin B. Lehmann, died on Thursday after he shot himself at his holiday home in Ticino.

Top cantonal politician found dead

Before the 48-year-old Social Democrat committed suicide on Thursday morning, he made a macabre phone call to the police in Zug: “I am going to die. You will find me in Ticino, on Via ai Monti in [the village of] Ronco sopra Ascona.”

He then pulled the trigger and shot himself in the head, Blick newspaper reports.

The police found him dead at 10am, just as the morning session began at the Zug parliament. Colleagues said they were surprised when he did not show up or call to announce his absence. “That was not his style,” said Barbara Gysel, a party colleague.

Deliberations on the 2012 budget were then interrupted by the tragic news from Ticino.

An advocate of stricter gun control, Lehmann encouraged voters last February to vote in favour of a Swiss referendum initiative aimed at tightening regulations governing the possession of weapons.

On his Facebook page he wrote: “From a purely pragmatic standpoint, I am of the opinion that every suicide carried out with a firearm is one too many.”

Suicide prevention was one of the main reasons put forward by the supporters of the ultimately unsuccessful initiative given the fact that Switzerland has the highest amount of suicides per capita in Europe. In fact, suicide accounts for 90 percent of the country’s firearm-related deaths, says the Group for a Switzerland without Arms.

Lehmann was a single man, held a senior position at Credit Suisse and led the Aids-Help foundation in Zug. He was to become president of the Zug parliament in the spring of 2012.

Even though the owner of the house he rented overlooking Lake Maggiore said he always appeared cheerful, one of his colleagues told a different story.

“A year ago he sought my advice,” said former councillor Malaika Meli-Hug, who left politics in 2006 due to depression. She told newspaper Blick that Lehmann confessed he suffered from depression and was taking medication to combat its effects.

ZUG

Johnson and Johnson deny vaccine will be available privately in Switzerland

Johnson and Johnson have denied claims by Swiss public broadcaster SRF that the company's Janssen Vaccine would be available to private companies in Switzerland.

Johnson and Johnson deny vaccine will be available privately in Switzerland
Photo: AFP

The Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen, produced by American pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson, was approved by Swissmedic on Monday March 22nd.

However, as the government has declined to purchase the vaccine to incorporate it into its vaccine scheme, it is not expected to be publicly available.

On Tuesday, Switzerland’s public broadcaster SRF claimed the vaccine would however be available for private companies to vaccinate their employees.

Johnson and Johnson have denied this, saying their vaccine will not be made available to private entities. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Switzerland approves Johnson and Johnson – but will not purchase any doses

On Monday, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, Swissmedic, gave provisional approval for the vaccine manufactured by Johnson and Johnson (Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen).

This made it the third vaccine to be approved in Switzerland after the jabs from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech. Unfortunately however, this does not mean the vaccine will be available to the Swiss public anytime soon.

While Swissmedic has approved the vaccine for use in Switzerland, the Swiss government is yet to sign a vaccine supply contract with the manufacturer.

As The Local Switzerland reported yesterday, this is primarily because it would only be delivered in the summer “and that is too late for us”, said Nora Kronig, vice president of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). 

READ MORE: Why Switzerland’s approval of the Johnson and Johnson jab will not speed up vaccinations

FOPH had previously announced the country aims to inoculate “everyone who wants it” by summer.

Kronig also said Switzerland is focusing on Pfizer / BioNtech and Moderna vaccines which use the so-called mRNA technology, “which is more effective, especially for vulnerable people”.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different technology.

Does this mean no Johnson and Johnson in Switzerland?

In a report on March 23rd Swiss public broadcaster SRF claimed any private entity wanting to import the vaccine can do so. 

“This means that a company in Switzerland, for example, can now buy this vaccine and have its staff vaccinated,” the media site claimed.

“At your own expense, but quickly and without any bureaucratic hurdles from the canton and federal government.”

However, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Thomas Moser, the Head of External Communications with Johnson and Johnson in Switzerland, told The Local Switzerland on Tuesday afternoon that the report was “incorrect” and as yet the vaccine would not be available to private entities. 

“In the current situation, J&J works exclusively with national and supranational authorities as well as international organisations such as COVAX to make our vaccine available,” he said, 

“This means that even with Swissmedic approval, direct orders will not be possible for the time being.”

As at Tuesday afternoon, the SRF report remained unchanged

Note: This article was changed on Tuesday afternoon to reflect the clarifications made by Johnson and Johnson directly to The Local Switzerland. 

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