Czech Republic Scraps COVID Vax Mandate

New Prime Minister says policy would “deepen fissures in society.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • Centre-right Prime Minister Petr Fiala, elected in November 2021, abandoned the former government’s decree to mandate vaccination against Covid-19, telling reporters that the government saw no need to make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory and that it would only serve to create more division, Reuters reports.
  • “We’ve agreed that vaccination against COVID-19 won’t be mandatory,” Prime Minister Fiala said. “This does not change our stance on vaccination. It is still undoubtedly the best way to fight COVID-19 … however, we do not want to deepen fissures in society.”
WHAT PROTEST ORGANIZATIONS WERE SAYING:

The “Open Czechia” protest organization ran a petition claiming that “instead of relevant expert information allowing citizens to make their own decision, the government is forcing us to be vaccinated through tools of corruption and extortion!”

BACKGROUND:
  • Under the former admin. led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis, adults in the Czech Republic aged 60 and over, health care workers, firefighters, police officers, and medical students would all have been subject to the mandate from March, Summit News notes.
  • The policy reversal came after numerous protests (here) in Prague, while just under 63% of Czechs are considered “fully vaccinated,” below the European average.
  • U.K.’s Boris Johnson recently announced the end of all Covid-19 measures, including compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home, and vaccine certificates, The Guardian reports.