Thousands of people demonstrate in Prague against vaccination warrant

Thousands of people marched in the capital of the Czech Republic on Sunday to protest against compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for certain groups and professions.

Protesters gathered in Wenceslas Square in central Prague to question the effectiveness of current vaccines and reject the vaccination of children before marching through the capital chanting “Freedom, freedom”.

The Prague protest followed similar but smaller protests in several Czech cities on Saturday.

The previous government issued an order in early December making vaccination compulsory for those 60 and over, as well as for medical staff, police, firefighters and medical students.

The ordinance is expected to go into effect in March, but it could still end up being overturned.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ administration was replaced later in December by a new government formed by five parties that won the October parliamentary elections, led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

The new administration opposed a vaccination mandate for the elderly and was ready to cancel it, but did not rule out that it may still be compulsory for some, depending on the progress of the pandemic. The government is expected to announce its decision on this matter by mid-February.

Health officials expected the new, rapidly spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus to become dominant in the country next week.

In this country of 10.7 million, 6.7 million are considered fully immunized, while more than 2.8 million have received a booster.


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Berta D. Wells