Healthcare staff plan minute’s silence against anti-vaxxers

View of a hospital room in January 2021 Library photo: Nader Ghavami / Maison Moderne

View of a hospital room in January 2021 Library photo: Nader Ghavami / Maison Moderne

Luxembourg healthcare staff are planning to stage a minute’s silence on Thursday in protest against the anti-vaccine movement and to raise awareness on the dangers of a coronavirus infection.

As of Monday, there were 36 people being treated in hospital for a coronavirus infection in addition to 13 patients in intensive care. More than 3,400 infections were considered active, the highest number since March this year.

“The new wave of infection is real, the virus too,” a statement by a group of hospital staff said, distributed to media organisations and also shared on social networks. “Hospitals are filling up, as well as their intensive care wards, with patients infected with the virus. Patients die of the virus.”

Nearly two years into the pandemic, healthcare staff said they are being pushed to their physical and mental limits and called on the public to get vaccinated and wear a mask.

The vaccine protects against serious illness and vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus, said the health professionals. “Masks reduce the transmission of the virus, the washing of hands, too. Physical distancing is effective and protects,” they said.

“It is high time to act if we don’t want another lockdown,” the group said, thanking everyone who got their coronavirus vaccine shots.

The group that launched the initiative said they were the “blousons blanches” or white coats, a wordplay on the “marche blanche” movement that stages protests in the capital on a weekly basis opposing government restrictions.

Luxembourg has started rolling out booster shots to all over 18-year-olds. The country had hoped to boost its stagnant vaccination rate by extending the CovidCheck regime across the hospitality and events sector, meaning people must show a valid vaccination, recovery or test certificate, for example to eat out or go to the theatre.

With just over two thirds of the eligible population (76.4%) vaccinated, the country is however still far from a goal of 80-85% that the government said was needed to allow for pandemic restrictions to be lifted. Only people over the age of 12 can get vaccinated against the coronavirus with one of the four formulas authorised by the European Medicines Agency: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna.