Austrian leaders appealed for national unity after a doctor who faced death threats from anti-vaccination activists and those plotting the coronavirus pandemic took his own life.
“Let us work to put an end to this intimidation and fear. Hate and intolerance have no place in our Austria,” President Alexander Van der Bellen said, hailing Lisa-Maria Kellermeyer as a doctor who seeks to heal people, protect them from disease and take a cautious approach to the pandemic. stood to adopt.
“But some people have become offended by it. And these people intimidated her, threatened her, first on the Internet and then in person, directly into her practice.”
The body of the doctor – who has often given media interviews about fighting the coronavirus pandemic and promoting vaccination – was found in his office in Upper Austria on Friday.
The media, citing prosecutors, said they found a suicide note and were not planning an autopsy.
Austria last month abandoned plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for adults, saying it was unlikely the measure would lead to one of Western Europe’s lowest vaccination rates.
Last year thousands of people marched in regular protests against the lockdown and plans to make vaccinations mandatory, highlighting a social divide over the public health measures many countries experienced.
But the doctor’s death – which the Austrian physicians’ union said reflects a widespread trend of threats against medical workers – shook the country.
“Hate against people is unforgivable. This hatred must finally stop,” said Health Minister Johannes Rauch.