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Swiss president is not in favour of compulsory Covid-19 vaccination

Guy Parmelin at a press conference. Keystone / Peter Schneider

Guy Parmelin is against coercing Swiss residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19 but warns they will face restrictions and costs. 

This content was published on August 1, 2021 - 11:25
NZZ am Sonntag/ac

In an interview with the NZZ am Sonntag paper published on Sunday, Parmelin said that he respected the decision of those who were holding out against getting vaccinated. However, he warned that individual freedom cannot encroach on the freedom of others. 

“The question arises as to whether the majority of the population who wants to be vaccinated must bear the consequences because a minority does not want it,” he said.

When it comes to compulsory vaccination of medical staff, as is required in neighbouring Italy and France, Parmelin said that they should not be forced but convinced. 

Limits to freedom

On the question of differentiating between those who were vaccinated and those who are not, Parmelin is supportive of private entities imposing vaccination requirements. 

“My position is clear: as soon as everyone has had access to the vaccination, a host or festival organiser can decide for themselves to only admit vaccinated people. That is his decision, his entrepreneurial freedom,” he said.

Parmelin added that discussions on extending vaccination certificate requirements to other kinds of private venues, like restaurants and fitness centres, is worth having but it should not be “aggressive”. However, he was against footing the bill for testing the unvaccinated anymore. 

“The vaccination is free. If I don't get vaccinated, should the vaccinated taxpayer pay for my tests? For me the answer is clear: no,” he said.

Parmelin brushed off the large demonstrations across the country by vaccine skeptics, saying that there is always a small minority that does not believe in conventional medicine. However, he conceded that resistance was strong among this group and that such a belief could sometimes take on religious traits. 

“We have to keep up the dialogue with these people. But everything has its limits: what I cannot accept is violence,” he said.
 

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