lock a vertex

Is it possible to lock (/pin) a mesh vertex?

When I do proportional editing on a mesh I am mirroring, I unintentionally move vertices I want to merge later.

hide them!

Hm, this seems to be a workaround. I would still like to see them. Would it be a good feature request? Currently, merging the two halves of a mesh can be pretty time consuming, because ‘remove doubles’ does not work, so I hav to merge them one by one.