Austria mourns suicide of doctor attacked by anti-vaccinationists

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

“But some people were outraged by it. And these people frightened her, threatened her, first on the Internet, and then in person, directly in her practice.”

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The body of the doctor, who has been frequently interviewed by the media about fighting the coronavirus pandemic and promoting vaccination, was found in her Upper Austria office on Friday.

The media, citing the prosecutor’s office, said they found a suicide note and did not plan an autopsy.

Last month, Austria abandoned plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for adults, saying the measure was unlikely to raise one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe.

Last year, tens of thousands of people took to regular protests against lockdowns and plans to make vaccinations mandatory, highlighting the social divide over public health measures that many countries are facing.

But the doctor’s death, which the Austrian Physicians’ Association says reflects a broader trend of threats against medical personnel, shocked the country.

“Hatred of people is unforgivable. This hatred must finally end,” Health Minister Johannes Rauch said.