NewsAustria's chancellor fixes compulsory vaccination - those who are...

Austria's chancellor fixes compulsory vaccination – those who are not vaccinated face hefty reports and fines

It’s a done deal: compulsory vaccination for Austria is coming. The government has now announced the details – they should apply from February.

Vienna/Munich – The compulsory vaccination for Austria is coming. The government of neighboring Germany presented the corresponding draft law on Sunday. The compulsory vaccination against the corona virus for adults over the age of 18 should come into force as planned at the beginning of February, but in a transitional phase until mid-March there should not yet be any penalties for the unvaccinated. There should be exceptions to the vaccination requirement for pregnant women and for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer stated: “We will decide on compulsory vaccination as planned.” Nehammer presented the details of the project with Constitutional Minister Karoline Edtstadler and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein to journalists in Vienna.

Vaccination for young people between the ages of 14 and 17 is voluntary

Vaccination should remain voluntary for young people between the ages of 14 and 17. This is what the draft law, on which the governing parties ÖVP and Greens have agreed with the social democratic SPÖ and the liberal Neos, provides for. Originally, the government only wanted to exempt children under the age of 14 from compulsory vaccination.

The government is sticking to the starting date at the beginning of February, although the technical recording of the exceptions in the national vaccination register will not be possible until April at the earliest. After the transitional phase until mid-March, in which all households are to be informed in writing about the measure, the plan is to make vaccination a so-called control offence. For example, anyone who is unable to present proof of vaccination at a traffic check must expect to be reported and fined between 600 and 3,600 euros.

The compulsory vaccination law is to be passed by the Austrian parliament on Thursday. The ÖVP and the Greens could pass the draft with a simple majority. With the involvement of the SPÖ and Neos, the government is counting on broader approval. Only the right-wing populist FPÖ strictly rejects compulsory vaccination.

Opponents of the law criticize, among other things, that vaccinations are prescribed that do not adequately prevent the virus from being passed on. “It’s not about fighting the vaccinated against the unvaccinated,” said Nehammer. Rather, it is about society as a whole being able to live in freedom again. He tested positive himself in January. But thanks to his vaccination, he always had the confidence not to have to go to the hospital.

Federal government warns against trips to Austria – protests in Vienna

But some citizens see it differently: In Vienna, tens of thousands of people took to the streets again on Saturday against the planned compulsory vaccination. According to the police, around 27,000 people followed the protest call, which was supported by the FPÖ, among others. Several participants were arrested, among other things because they violated the mask requirement or showed the Hitler salute.

Like many European countries, the Alpine republic is currently struggling with a new wave of corona, which is mainly being driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. Because of the high number of infections, the German federal government has been classifying the neighboring country as a high-risk area again since Sunday. The warning against tourist trips to Austria is likely to hit winter tourism particularly hard. (cg with afp and dpa) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

Header list image: © Georges Schneider / image

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