In some countries right now, the COVID vaccination issue is about to be taken to an extreme not yet seen. And it has some serious implications.
Citizens of Germany will be “vaccinated, cured or dead” from Covid-19 in a few months… according to Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn, who made the grim statement a fortnight ago.
The harsh outlook was in response to apparently rising infection rates in Germany and the slow pace of the vaccination programme. Either the Health Minister is trying to frighten otherwise hesitant German citizens into taking up the vaccine or he is genuinely foreshadowing a grim scenario ahead.
In neighbouring Austria, the population has been put into full lockdown again: and a sweeping policy of mandatory vaccination is due to come in to effect in February. Austria will be the first European country to enforce mandatory vaccination.
This comes after the government in Austria had initially proposed a lockdown for the unvaccinated only: but then moved to full lockdown of the general population. They now appear to be reverting to locking down the unvaccinated only.
Germany, following Austria’s lead, is debating both a new lockdown *and* the possible implementation of mandatory vaccinations. A lockdown of the unvaccinated appears to be Germany’s direction, as with Austria.
And although mandatory vaccination hasn’t yet been officially announced in Germany, the incoming Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is strongly pushing for it. Scholz, who is to succeed the long-serving Angela Merkel, said ‘…“We will pave the way for a decision of conscience by members of the German Bundestag about a general vaccine mandate that will come into force next year, in February or early March, and which everybody can get ready for now. I will vote in favour of such a law”…’
Curiously, his approximate date for the vaccine mandate to come into force seems to match Austria’s already-official date for implementation of their mandate. Which suggests a possible degree of lockstep.
Quite how the compulsory vaccinations are going to be enforced in Austria remains to be seen: but citizens are being warned they will face $4000 fines for refusing to vaccinate. Jail time has also been discussed.
There are already various reports indicating Austrians are are in full police state mode. As The Guardian reported, ‘Police in Austria have begun carrying out routine checks on commuters to ensure compliance with a nationwide “lockdown for the unvaccinated”…’
In true Orwellian fashion, the interior minister, Karl Nehammer (Austrian People’s party) said “It can happen any time and anywhere… Every citizen has to expect to be checked.”
It’s probably important to note that Austria moving towards compulsory vaccination is a big step in the overall COVID and vaccine story so far. Firstly, with Austria leading the way, other governments might be encouraged to do the same.
Secondly, up until now vaccination has been presented as voluntary. Despite a lot of coercion and pressure placed on citizens in different countries, the right to decline the vaccine meant that governments were not violating civil liberties or the principles of bodily autonomy.
However, with this move towards mandatory vaccination (in Austria, at least), that claim can no longer be made.
And crucially what it also means is that Austrian government policy will now – arguably – be in violation of the Nuremberg Code that was established after World War II.
Although there are various stipulations in the Nuremberg Code – any of which could be argued or skewed to either support or oppose the Austrian government’s policy – it’s worth noting that number one on the list is that ‘Voluntary consent is essential’ when individuals are being subject to medical research or experimentation.
Certainly, the point can – and has – been made that the mRNA jabs are *experimental* vaccines in nature (in the US, for example, they were pushed through only under ’emergency use authorisation’ and weren’t given standard FDA approval). And certainly the COVID vaccination programme can be described as having been a large-scale medical experiment: albeit largely involving *willing* participants.
But… you could certainly view the vaccination programme in the context of medical experimentation: which is precisely what the Nuremberg Code was established to police.
In which case, that number one stipulation of the code – ‘Voluntary consent is essential’ – becomes highly significant here. The code also allows for the withdrawal of consent at any time by participants.
In opting for mandatory enforcement of experimental mRNA vaccines, the Austrian state will be bypassing the ‘voluntary consent’ of its citizens. In other words, from February onward, people who don’t ‘voluntarily consent’ to take part in the experimental vaccination programme will either be forced to or will face legal consequences… which, again, could be argued to be a violation of the Nuremberg Code.
After almost two years of this COVID pandemic and almost a year of the vaccines being administered, it’s a real shame that Austria (and potentially Germany) are the countries where this is apparently going to be happening: for obvious historical reasons. After all, the Nuremberg Code was a response to the unethical (and downright inhumane) medical experiments conducted by the Nazis.
Likewise, it was rather perverse that Israel was really the first country to enter into a deal with Pfizer to mass vaccinate its population – with subsequent claims that Israeli citizens were not able to give informed consent, as they weren’t afforded adequate information. There’s something perverse about the Israeli population – which would include actual Holocaust survivors – being the initial guinea pigs.
For that matter, there’s actually been a fair bit of uncomfortable historical resonance in various elements of this COVID situation and the vaccines: such as the clear connections, explored here, between the Astra Zeneca vaccine developers and the old British eugenics institutions – who, back in the thirties and forties, were in fact ideologically in tune with Nazi race and eugenics philosophies.
To be clear, I’m not drawing any moral comparison between Nazi acts and the COVID vaccinations: only pointing out the apparent or potential violation of the Nuremberg Code.
But this move towards compulsory vaccination does represent a significant line being crossed. It could also end up being a point of no return, as far as the laws and principles governing this kind of thing are concerned: just as things like the illegal bombing of Syria or the illegal invasion of Iraq represented violations of international law.
Just as those geopolitical events represented the end of international law in effect, the COVID pandemic and its various responses – including this move to mandatory vaccination – may represent a definitive violation or erosion of human rights and civil liberties, all under the guise of public health policy.
A possible point of no return: in which rights and liberties we’ve given up are never going to be treated with the same sanctity again.
Governments in Italy and Russia, among other places, are also debating implementing mandatory vaccination. If multiple countries begin going down this road, then the argument could certainly be made that it would be in violation of the Nuremberg Code.
So far the UK, France and various other countries’ governments have said they are not considering mandatory vaccination for the general population. Let us hope it remains that way.
But, given how many countries have been deteriorating into outright police state conditions (take Australia, for example), there doesn’t seem to be too much cause for optimism.
The only hope is that Austria’s mandatory vaccination policy will somehow backfire. It would certainly be the right time for mass non-compliance. But if the overwhelming mass of Austrian citizens supports the mandate and leaves only a small minority to protest against it, then very little is likely to be accomplished.