Vaccine mandates should be considered as an “absolute last resort,” the World Health Organization’s top Europe official said Tuesday — a day after Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio announced tough new rules for all private businesses.
WHO Europe director Hans Kluge cautioned that officials should weigh whether mandates will impact public trust before imposing them.
“Mandates around vaccination are an absolute last resort and only applicable when all feasible options to improve vaccination uptake have been exhausted,” Kluge told reporters at a press conference.
Kluge added that officials should keep in mind that “the effectiveness of mandates is very context-specific.”
“What is acceptable in one society and community may not be effective and acceptable in another,” he said.
The WHO director stressed the importance of weighing up mandates against potential mental health ramifications.
“Any measure that may restrict a right or movement of a person such as lockdowns or mandates needs to assure that mental health and well-being is cared for,” he said.
Kluge also said that there also needs to be help in place for domestic violence victims as well as economic support for those who will be impacted by the restrictions.
“That dialogue with the communities needs to remain the cornerstone of the response,” he said.
Several European countries, such as Germany, are weighing whether to make vaccinations mandatory for adults.
Austria has announced that it will require all adults get vaccinated by Feb, 1.
Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio sprang a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on all private businesses in New York City on Monday, in what he described as a “first-in-the-nation measure” to get ahead of the Omicron variant.
The announcement prompted swift rebuke from trade groups, New York office workers and some fellow elected officials who said the backbone of the Big Apple was “blindsided” by the stunning move.