Austria mourns suicide of doctor targeted by anti-vaccine activists


Austrian leaders have called for national unity after a doctor received death threats from anti-vaccination activists and coronavirus pandemic conspiracy theorists killed themselves.

“Let’s put an end to this intimidation and this campaign of fear. Hatred and intolerance have no place in our Austria,” said President Alexander Van der Bellen, hailing Lisa-Maria Kellermayr as a doctor who defended healing people, protecting them from disease and taking a cautious approach to the pandemic.

“But some people were enraged by this. And these people scared her, threatened her, first on the internet and then also in person, directly in her office.

The body of the doctor – who had often given media interviews on the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the promotion of vaccinations – was found on Friday in his office in Upper Austria.

The media quoted prosecutors as saying they had found a suicide note and were not planning an autopsy.

Austria last month dropped plans to introduce compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for adults, saying the measure was unlikely to increase one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe. western.

Tens of thousands of people had regularly demonstrated against the closures last year and the plans to make vaccinations compulsory, highlighting a social divide on public health measures that many countries have experienced.

But the doctor’s death – which the association of Austrian doctors says reflects a wider trend of threats against medical staff – has shocked the country.

“Hate against people is inexcusable. This hatred must finally stop,” said Health Minister Johannes Rauch.