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Covid sceptics launch German job site for ‘unvaccinated people only’

A coronavirus sceptic organisation has launched a German language job site which lets businesses look for unvaccinated workers. Some of the jobs are in the nursing and old age care industries.

Covid sceptics launch German job site for 'unvaccinated people only'
A sign says 'stop coronavirus facism'. Vaccine scepticism has become a bigger problem in German-speaking Europe. Photo: John MACDOUGALL / AFP

A German job site has been launched to let businesses search for ‘vaccine sceptic’ workers, i.e. those who have not been vaccinated and who would not get the jab. 

The site, called Impffrei Work (vaccine-free work), was launched by a network of coronavirus sceptics in order “to counter the scientific narrative of the so-called pandemic”, Germany’s Spiegel magazine reports.

The jobs advertised are in a variety of industries, from taxi drivers to tax advisors. Some of the jobs on the site include frequent contact with the most vulnerable, i.e. calling for workers in hospitals and care homes.

Physiotherapists, social workers, craft makers and carers are some of the other jobs that appear on the site, with 70 companies in total taking out advertisements.  

The jobs are advertised across German-speaking Europe, with positions in Switzerland, Austria and several German states. 

READ ALSO: Thousands protest against Germany’s plan for nationwide Covid measures

The site advertises that it is targeting job seekers which are “mask-free, vaccine-free, but please not brain-free”.

Late last week, the site was brought down by activist group Anonymous, with the site still down at the time of publication. 

In a hacking sting named ‘Operation Tinfoil’, the self-proclaimed ‘hacktivists’ said they wanted to target vaccine sceptics, who “seek to make money with fear, panic and lies”. 

A source from Anonymous told Spiegel that the site “consciously providing unvaccinated people (access to work) who can potentially infect other people or infect themselves”.

Vaccine scepticism has soared in Germany throughout the pandemic, with protests taking place across the country. 

German health officials are concerned that the movement may hamper the country’s chances to achieve herd immunity through vaccination, making it more difficult to return to some degree of normality. 

While representatives for the site did not respond to requests for comment by The Local, Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes reports that they have set up several social media networks to spread conspiracy theories about vaccines and the virus itself. 

According to 20 Minutes, the organisers have set up a channel on messaging app Telegram which spreads unsubstantiated claims about the virus, including that it does not exist. 

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COVID-19

Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Austrians expressed shock and anger this week over the suicide of doctor who had been the target of a torrent of abuse and threats from anti-vaccination protesters.

Austria in shock over doctor's suicide following anti-vax abuse

The bells of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral rang out in memory of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr on Monday, and hundreds of people held a candle vigil outside, after the 36-year-old doctor was found dead at her practice on July 29.

She had long been the target of death threats because of her criticism of the widespread anti-lockdown protests of 2021.

An autopsy later confirmed that Kellermayr had taken her own life.

Austria has found itself deeply polarised over coronavirus restrictions and in particular a government policy –subsequently dropped — of making vaccination against the coronavirus compulsory.

Kellermayr — whose practice was in the region of Upper Austria where immunisation rates are particularly low — had frequently complained of the menace.

“For more than seven months, we have been receiving… death threats from those opposed to coronavirus measures and vaccinations,” she wrote at the time, sharing a message from one internet user who said they would pose as a patient in order to attack her and her staff.

She described how she had “invested more than 100,000 euros” ($102,000) in measures to ensure her patients’ safety and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Then, at the end of June, Kellermayr announced on her professional website that she would not be seeing patients until further notice.

Daniel Landau, who organised a memorial vigil for her in Vienna, said that Kellermayr had become a virtual recluse for several weeks. “She didn’t dare to leave” her office, Landau told AFP.

Fanning the aggression

On Saturday, the head of Austria’s doctors’ association, Johannes Steinhart, said that while aggressive behaviour towards medical staff was not new, it had been “fired up and noticeably aggravated” by the debate over Covid-19 and vaccines.

The police, who had previously suggested Kellermayr was exploiting the situation for attention, insist they did everything to protect her. The local prosecutor’s office also rejected suggestions it could have done more.

“As soon as we received the police report (identifying one of the suspects), we sent it over to the relevant authorities in Germany,” spokesman Christoph Weber said.

On Friday, prosecutors in the neighbouring German state of Bavaria said a 59-year-old suspect was being investigated by a specialist hate speech unit.

At the beginning of the week, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen visited the small town of Seewalchen where Kellermayr lived to lay flowers in her memory.

After news of her death broke, he had appealed to Austrians to “put an end to intimidation and fear”.

‘They’re gagging us’

But on some Telegram groups, the hateful messages continue.

“Some people are celebrating her death; others believe the vaccine killed her,” said Ingrid Brodnig, a journalist and author who investigates online disinformation.

“Stricts laws exist” already against online hate, but not enough is done to implement them, Brodnig said.

One government minister has floated the idea of a separate prosecutor’s office to target such cases. Doctors and researchers have also been targeted elsewhere.

French infectious disease specialist, Karine Lacombe, described how she had been vilified for her work as part of a collective of doctors combatting coronavirus-related disinformation.

She, too, complained that the response from the authorities in the face of threats was not robust enough, and has scaled down her public appearances this year.

“You end up thinking that the risk isn’t worth it,” she told AFP. “In that sense (the aggressors) have won, they are gagging us,” she said.

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