Switzerland set to hold referendum on compulsory Covid vaccinations

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 17 Dec, 2021 Updated Fri 17 Dec 2021 10:38 CEST
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A person holds a sign which says "no to compulsory vaccination" at a rally in Vienna. Photo: FLORIAN WIESER / APA / AFP

Switzerland’s famous direct democracy system will be called into action in a nationwide vote for a constitutional right preventing mandatory vaccination.

Swiss Freedom Movement (MLS) association has filed an initiative  — called “For Freedom and Physical Integrity” — at the Federal Chancellery in Bern.

The group collected 125,000 signatures — 25,000 more than needed to bring an issue to a nationwide vote.

It calls for the inclusion in the Swiss Constitution of the fundamental right of each individual to determine for themselves what can be injected or implanted in their body.

The text of the initiative specifies that “the person concerned must not be punished for having refused to give his consent, nor suffer social or professional disadvantages”.

This prerogative is not linked only to Covid, but also “to other vaccines, chips and digital information that would be implanted in the body,” said MLS president Richard Koller.

Although authorities have repeatedly said vaccination will not be forced on anyone, Switzerland’s Epidemics Act allows compulsory inoculation in certain extreme cases.

READ MORE: Will Switzerland make the Covid vaccine compulsory?

Incoming Swiss president Ignazio Cassis, who will take office on January 1st, has not ruled out mandatory vaccination “as a last resort” to control the pandemic.

Cassis, a trained doctor, said he felt “mandatory vaccination can be useful” but understood it was a significant incursion into people’s individual freedom. 

While the MLS organisation has reached the threshold for a vote into the issue, the date has not yet been set. 

The referendum would likely take place in 2022. Referenda are set to take place in March, June, September and November of 2022. 

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