POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - POLITICS

Covid

Parliament debate on vaccine mandate takes shape



Many countries are considering introducing sectoral obligation to be vaccinated and Luxembourg members of parliament will discuss that as well.  Photo: Maison Moderne Archive / EU

Many countries are considering introducing sectoral obligation to be vaccinated and Luxembourg members of parliament will discuss that as well.  Photo: Maison Moderne Archive / EU

A parliamentary debate on whether Luxembourg should make covid vaccination obligatory will take place on 19 January, and prime minister Xavier Bettel on Thursday published the questions that he wants to see discussed after requesting the exchange.

Currently up for debate in Belgium, France and Germany and applied in Austria, a covid vaccine mandate could also be introduced in Luxembourg. That will be up for debate on 19 January after Bettel (DP) in December requested to hold a consultative debate on the topic of mandatory vaccination with members of parliament.

Tthe government last week tasked an independent group of experts to provide a scientific point of view on whether a vaccine mandate is necessary to put an end to the pandemic and announced that a questionnaire will be set ahead of the parliamentary debate. That questionnaire has now been released, sketching out the variables surrounding the implementation of a mandatory vaccine.

Who and when

Considering that cross-border workers make up roughly half of Luxembourg’s workforce, whether or not the vaccine mandate extends to them is a key decision. That will notably be up for debate while the obligation could also be reserved only for residents. Age is another variable which will be discussed, whether it should be starting from 14 years of age like in Austria or 16, 18 or another.

Many countries are considering introducing professional obligations to be vaccinated and Luxembourg members of parliament will discuss this issue, too, evaluating options to vaccinate universally, only in the health sector, the education sector or another. The question of when will also be up for debate, in order to determine which date would be suitable to start the procedure.

One, two or three jabs

The parliamentary debate will also touch on what should be considered fully vaccinated, having one or two jabs or a booster dose as well. The order in which people would be vaccinated should be discussed as well as whether or not an option to choose which vaccine to get should be allowed.

Sanctions and legal terms

Enforcing a potential mandatory vaccine puts forward the question of sanctions and how much a person should be fined, whether that will be once or multiple times and who will have the authority to issue the fine. Whether a refusal to get vaccinated can constitute grounds for a person being let go from their job will also be debated.

So far, covid-19 related restrictions have been introduced by amending the current covid law. The parliamentary debate will take into account if a separate bill will be drafted, or if this should be introduced as an amendment. Controlling and potentially sanctioning residents vaccinated elsewhere will also be up for debate.

The 37 questions in total will steer the political conversation on a potential mandatory covid vaccine as Luxembourg looks to adapt to a pandemic which is now entering its third year.