POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - INSTITUTIONS

Covid-19

Army union slams mandatory vaccination



Luxembourg’s soldiers and new army recruits will now have to be fully vaccinated in order to operate within the organism.  EMA

Luxembourg’s soldiers and new army recruits will now have to be fully vaccinated in order to operate within the organism.  EMA

The Luxembourg army union SPAL has spoken out against the mandatory vaccination of active soldiers in the grand duchy, fearing it will hinder the recruitment of new staff.

Defence minister François Bausch (déi Gréng) in December had confirmed that soldiers recruited or active on 1 January 2022 had to have completed a full vaccine schedule. Civil personnel were not included in this directive.

But talking to Luxembourg radio station Radio 100,7 on Monday, the SPAL’s president, Christian Schleck, questioned the legal basis of the decision.

The 1979 legislation on discipline in public forces says: “Military personnel may refuse medical procedures that affect their physical integrity, except in the case of measures to prevent contagious or infectious diseases.”

Though covid-19 falls under the category of contagious diseases, Schleck criticised the application of the law in this case, arguing that those who are recovered, or those who were infected between their first and second shots, for instance, were technically not eligible for recruitment. This at a time where, according to Schleck, the grand duchy’s army struggles to attract recruits. 

Schleck said the union is not against the vaccine, but also wondered by civil personnel weren’t included in the vaccine mandate, arguing that all civil servants should be under the same obligation.

On 15 January, CovidCheck with 3G rules (tested, recovered, vaccinated) will be in force in the country’s work environments, with unvaccinated people being able to come into work on condition that they are tested daily. This applies to the military’s civil personnel too. 

Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) has requested a debate on mandatory vaccination with lawmakers, saying in December that there should be a decision by mid-January.