The name marked with an asterisk* has been changed to protect the identity.
Berlin, Germany – Liz Meier*, 56 years old, is a young mother when her 2-year-old son Matthias* received a triple vaccine against mumps, measles and rubella.
But the jab makes Mandatory Last year, the response to school-age children in Germany was not good. Matthias left with serious disabilities, which have continued to affect the lives of him and his family for decades.
“I believed in vaccines, but then my son became very ill and almost died. Since then, he has been physically disabled and my fate is determined by this,” Meyer told Al Jazeera from his home in Frankfurt, central Germany.
Meier has not been immunized against COVID, and she said she is committed to this position.
If Germany did implement Vaccine authorization Next year, she is discussing moving, and she will consider leaving the country.
“After the incident, I did a lot of research on vaccines. Given this knowledge and my history, how can I trust these COVID vaccines? I know a lot of people who have left Germany. I hope it will not reach that level and should be authorized It will not work, but if it works, then I will explore my options.”
At the same time, the semi-retired writer and translator said she restricted her social life.
“Before, swimming only required a free test, so I did it every time I went. Then the rule became a PCR test, which would cost me about 300 Euros. [$340] A week. Obviously, through these measures, they want to exclude us.
“We can sit outside some places, but it always feels like you are not allowed to exist in the same way as the vaccinated people.”
November, Austria Announce From February next year, all people living in the country must be vaccinated.
Those who fail to comply will face a hefty fine of up to 3,600 Euros (4,100 USD) every three months.
Nearly 70% of the population in Austria has been vaccinated, making it one of the countries with the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe. Those who refused the injection have been locked down and are currently prohibited from entering all non-essential public places, such as cafes, gyms and libraries.
Similar rules apply to Germany, and the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Olaf Scholz) expressed his support for the vaccine authorization proposal.
Official data show that approximately 70% of the population has been vaccinated, and nearly 30% of the population has been vaccinated with booster shots.
Those who have not been vaccinated say that their voices, concerns and experiences have not been heard. They added that the latest measures and proposed tasks have had a major impact on their emotional, physical and mental health.
Keysha*, a 39-year-old Londoner living in Berlin, said her family stopped immunizations when she was young. As a mixed-race living among the disabled, she is disturbed by the current climate.
“When I am not allowed to enter, it is difficult to see people laughing and enjoying in the cafe,” Keysha said. “People are getting intoxicated. The whole situation is a bit inhumane.
“Being excluded in this way in the past few months has triggered my existing anxiety. It has caused great turmoil in my family and affected our lives and my relationship. I have had tears in my face, A moment of panic, at the same time, I feel that this is just another thing we have to deal with that is usually excluded.”
Keysha, who has lived in Berlin for more than 10 years and works on creative industries and diversity issues, said the epidemic has increased homesickness.
She does not rule out returning to England.
“I feel uncomfortable here, more anxious, and more rejected. There is only one dominant discourse at the moment,” she said.
Nat A, a 35-year-old railway administrator in Vienna, said that if the authorization takes effect, he doesn’t know what he will do.
“The only thing I don’t want to do is get the vaccine just to restore my freedom,” he said.
“In general, I am sorry that there is such a war between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, without giving any respect to other opinions. If I feel safe, I will be vaccinated, but at the moment I don’t want to be vaccinated because My intuition is that the vaccine has not been tested enough. Maybe my opinion will change in the future, but who knows.”
Although scientists almost unanimously support that the COVID vaccine is the best way to protect people from the virus, the virus has caused more than 5 million deaths worldwide-including 113,000 victims in Germany and more than 13,000 victims in Austria-citizens Free organization has shared Growing concerns Regarding how some governments curb democracy and freedom during the pandemic.
Peter Klimek, an associate professor at the Medical University of Vienna, told Al Jazeera: “Vaccines are by far the most important tool for us to control the pandemic, and the development of Omicron has not changed, but this point is emphasized again.
“However, although vaccines are our most important tool to control the pandemic, in the long run, vaccines alone are unlikely to be sufficient. We may need to manage SARS-CoV-2 through multiple layers of protection, for example, testing , Mask, long-term antiviral drugs.
“If we now mandate vaccination, we need to communicate this clearly so as not to have unrealistic expectations among the people about ways to get rid of the pandemic.”
Back in Berlin, Keysha was still hesitant about the vaccine and compared it with dark events in history.
“From the history of Germany and the history of colonialism in general, we know what happens when you move in the direction of controlling institutions.
“I hope the history books will show that we have gone through a strange period and planned to enact a law to vaccinate people, but then we saw the meaning, but it was overturned.”
For Mel in Frankfurt, her trust in officials has continued to decline.
“During the pandemic, it is really hard to trust the government, but hope will eventually pass away. So I always hope that they will not experience all of this and we can create another vision for our future in a more collective way.”