“Let’s end this intimidation and fear mongering. Hatred and intolerance have no place in our Austria,” said Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and praised Lisa-Maria Kellermayr as a doctor who advocates healing people, protecting them from illness and hardship and dealing with the pandemic cautiously.
“But some people got upset about it. And these people scared her, threatened her, first on the internet and then in person, right in her office.”
The body of the doctor, who had frequently given media interviews to combat the coronavirus pandemic and promote vaccinations, was found in her practice in Upper Austria on Friday.
Media quoted prosecutors as saying they had found a suicide note and were not planning an autopsy.
Austria last month dropped plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for adults, saying the measure was unlikely to boost one of Western Europe’s lowest vaccination rates.
Tens of thousands of people have turned out in regular protests over the past year against lockdowns and plans to introduce mandatory vaccinations, highlighting the social divide in public health response that many countries have been experiencing.
But the doctor’s death – which the Austrian Medical Association said reflected a broader trend of threats against medical workers – shocked the country.
“Hate against people is inexcusable. This hatred must finally stop,” said Health Minister Johannes Rauch.