Planned 'vaccine lottery' is unethical, says Ombudsman

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Bribery and coercion to promote vaccination against Covid-19 are not a characteristic of a legal and healthy country, Ombudsman Juris Jansons said in an interview to Latvian Television July 13.

The Ombudsman was asked to comment on the government's planned lottery for those vaccinated against Covid-19. According to Jansons, this is an unethical practice, all groups of society should be addressed in communication with the public in such a way as to help them understand why vaccination against Covid-19 is necessary. People should not be bribed or threatened with prohibition of attendance at any events, he said. 

The number of complaints concerning vaccination against Covid-19 has tripled in the Ombudsman's Office, including the potential for compulsory vaccination as debated by the government.

Jansons believes the biggest damage in communication with the public was done in the first wave of Covid-19, when several ministers came up with ill-considered comments. The public is wary of government initiatives.

At the same time, the Ombudsman has previously indicated that mandatory vaccination groups may be determined in the country, but a number of legislative changes have to be made.

The government has agreed conceptually that it could give employers the right to dismiss employees who will not have obtained a Covid-19 certificate by September 15. Compulsory vaccination is planned in medical, social care and educational institutions. The legal basis for such a government decision will be assessed – whether it complies with the Constitution.

In order to promote vaccination against Covid-19 in Latvia, lotteries are planned to be organized from August, in which various financial prizes can be won.

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