Covid-19: how does Austria plan to implement compulsory vaccination?

CONTROL – The central European country is preparing to vote on Thursday the law implementing compulsory vaccination for all over 18 from the beginning of February. Offenders may receive a fine of 600 to 3600 euros.

This is an unprecedented measure in Europe that will see the light of day. In Austria, the government has decided to introduce compulsory vaccination for all adults in order to achieve a 90% vaccination rate in the country as soon as possible. Currently, the vaccination rate is 73.84%, according to data from OurWorldInData.

Even if the project has generated significant mobilization in this country where no vaccine, even for children, was previously compulsory, the law should be passed thanks to the large majority that the Chancellor has within the Chamber. However, its implementation still raises questions.

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Covid-19: the challenge of vaccination

Vaccination will be compulsory for all adults over the age of 18. Exceptions do exist, however. This rule will not be applied for pregnant women for the duration of their pregnancy, for people who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons and for people who have had Covid in the last six months. Minors over the age of 14, a time concerned, will ultimately not be.

For the government, this measure is not intended to force vaccination or increase fines. Due to “sensitive character” of the project, according to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the authorities will first contact all Austrian households to explain the change in rules. Additionally, a “adjustment phase” as soon as the law is enforced, next February 1, until mid-March, will open.

From March 15, however, checks may be carried out randomly, during roadside checks for example. Those who have not been vaccinated will then be liable to a fine of 600 euros. But if the vaccination rate does not progress sufficiently, a second phase of control will apply.

A second phase that raises even more questions

An appointment to be vaccinated will be set automatically for people who have not yet received an injection against Covid. If they do not go to this appointment, they will then receive a fine of up to 3600 euros.

However, the authorities hope that the country does not begin this second phase. The government has not given any dates for this new stage. A commission of experts must report every three months to the government and Parliament to inform them of how the campaign is progressing.

The vaccination obligation is supposed to remain in place until the end of January 2024. According to figures communicated by the Ministry of Health, one and a half million adults still have to be convinced. In parallel with this coercive measure, a lottery was announced, with the key to a reward of 500 euros for those vaccinated.

Read also

  • Austria, Greece, Germany… the idea of ​​compulsory vaccination against Covid is gradually gaining ground in Europe
  • Covid-19: the Academy of Medicine calls for “taking the step” of compulsory vaccination

Compulsory vaccination against Covid-19 is gaining ground in a growing number of countries for certain professions or population categories. However, taxation of the entire population remains unheard of within the European Union and very rare elsewhere in the world. In France, while politicians and experts were campaigning to introduce compulsory vaccination, questions about how such a measure should be applied also arose.

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