Austria: Mandatory adult vaccination approved

In the first phase, the authorities will inform the citizens by letter and from mid-March, the sample checks on the implementation of the measure will begin.

emvoliasmos2 1 Austria, Parliament, compulsory vaccination

The Austrian Parliament has voted in favor of the general obligation to vaccinate adults, which will apply from 1 February. The fines for those who do not comply reach up to 3.600 euros.

The Austrian government's proposal to vaccinate all citizens over the age of 18, with the exception of pregnant women, those who should not be vaccinated for medical reasons and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months, it was approved by 137 votes in favor, 33 against and 13 abstentions.

On February 3, it is expected to be approved by the Federal Council of the country. In addition to the ruling coalition parties, many Social Democrat (SPÖ) and Liberal NEOS MPs voted in favor of the general vaccination obligation.

In the first phase, the authorities will inform the citizens by letter and from mid-March, the sample checks on the implementation of the measure will begin. Anyone who can not prove that he was vaccinated will have to prove it later in writing or pay a fine of 600 euros.

If the measure does not have the desired effect, the competent authorities will make vaccination appointments for the citizens and those who do not come will be punished with a fine, which will reach 3.600 euros. A fine may be imposed on the same person up to four times a year, while the content of the general obligation may be revised in the future, if required by epidemiological conditions.

At present, in Austria, 71,6% of the population is fully vaccinated.

During today's meeting, Health Minister Wolfgang Mukstein stressed that vaccines are safe and that "we need a high rate of vaccination in order to limit the spread of the virus." Referring to the false news about vaccines, he called on the citizens "to challenge the myths about vaccination".

"Terrified", "surprised", "shocked" and "shocked" on the other hand said the leader of the far right FPÖ, Herbert Kikl, who spoke of "health communism", provoking reactions from Green MPs.

Lawmakers from the ruling Greens party voted in favor of the mandate, with the exception of Eva Ernst-Tzic, who abstained because she said she did not want to vote on the proposal. "Compulsory vaccination, which none of us wanted, has unfortunately become necessary," said SPÖ leader Pamela Reddy-Wagner.

Earlier in the day, the Austrian government announced a vaccination incentive package, with a raffle and each winning ticket corresponding to a vaccination winning a € 500 gift voucher.

The first country in Europe

Η Austria will become the first European country to make coronavirus vaccination mandatory for adults in February, a decision announced on January 16 by Chancellor Carl Nehammer, acknowledging that it was "a sensitive issue".

A day earlier, some 27.000 people had demonstrated in Vienna against the measures, which they described as an attack on individual freedoms.

Critics of the vaccine argue that, apart from the issue of individual liberties, existing vaccines do not inhibit virus transmission or re-infection, and that the predominant Omicron variant appears to be milder and causes less serious illness than previous ones.