Austria: From February, vaccination should be compulsory from the age of 18

Status: 01/16/2022 3:58 p.m

Austria wants to be the first EU country to introduce general corona vaccination. The government has now presented details. The rule should only apply from the age of 18 and should be checked, among other things, at traffic controls.

The Austrian government has presented its draft law for the planned compulsory corona vaccination. She is somewhat accommodating to critics on individual points – presumably above all in order to get the broadest possible majority in the vote in Parliament. The vote is scheduled to take place next Thursday.

According to the draft, compulsory vaccination in Austria should only apply from the age of 18, not from the age of 14, as originally planned. There should be exceptions to the obligation for pregnant women and for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Checking in the context of traffic controls

The government is sticking to the schedule, although it is clear that the technical recording of exceptions in the national vaccination register will not be possible until April at the earliest. Start time remains early February. In a transitional phase until mid-March, however, there should not yet be any penalties for the unvaccinated.

Penalties of up to 3,600 euros are planned if someone refuses to be vaccinated for a longer period of time. According to the draft law, however, detention is excluded. Whether someone is vaccinated or not should be checked, among other things, in the course of traffic controls.

Approval probably also from two opposition parties

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

Nehammer not only hopes for the governing parties ÖVP and Greens, but also for votes from the opposition. The approval of the social democratic SPÖ seems certain, that of the liberal Neos largely after the mandatory vaccination age was raised to 18. The right-wing populist FPÖ remains an anti-vaccination party.

Nehammer (ÖVP) presented the draft law at a press conference – together with Constitutional Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP) and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens).

Image: dpa

First country in the EU

It’s not about a “fight between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated,” said Chancellor Nehammer. Rather, it is about society as a whole being able to live in freedom again. The Chancellor himself tested positive in January. But thanks to his vaccination, he always had the confidence not to have to go to the hospital, he said. According to Nehammer, he recovered quickly.

Austria has a comparatively low vaccination rate. If Parliament agrees on Thursday, it will be the first EU country to introduce 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.

Hitler salute at demo against compulsory vaccination

The picture of the protests against compulsory vaccination is also partly shaped in Austria by right-wing extremists, opponents of democracy and corona deniers. In Vienna, tens of thousands took to the streets again on Saturday. 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.

With information from Wolfgang Vichtl, ARD Studio Vienna

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