ZURICH (Reuters) – Four members of Switzerland’s special forces who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 have lost their bid for reinstatement, a court said on Friday.
“By refusing to be vaccinated for no valid medical reason, the four servicemen deliberately put themselves in a position where they could no longer perform their professional duties,” the Federal Administrative Court said in a summary of its ruling, which can be appealed at the supreme court.
The court noted that special forces carry out dangerous and difficult missions at home and abroad, including repatriating Swiss nationals and diplomats from war zones. Their contracts specify that they must always be ready for deployment and follow medical directives of the military’s surgeon general.
The case reflects a broader debate in Swiss society over getting jabs that can help protect against COVID-19, which has caused more than 3.6 million infections and 13,250 deaths in Switzerland and its tiny neighbour Liechtenstein.
Government data show 70% of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 and 43% have received a booster shot.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Gareth Jones)