Austria: Green light for gradual compulsory vaccination

Status: 03.02.2022 21:53

The general corona vaccination requirement in Austria has cleared the last parliamentary hurdle. The measure decided three months ago is now controversial even among experts.

By Wolfgang VIchtl, ARD Studio Vienna

Austria remains a pioneer in the EU – with a statutory corona vaccination requirement from the age of 18. However, those responsible in politics are entering the last round of voting with the handbrake on. Corona precautionary rules were relaxed before the last long debate in the Austrian Bundesrat.

Wolfgang Vichtl
ARD Studio Vienna

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein let it be known that he wished that the law would never have to be applied in its entirety.

My wish is that we don’t need phase three at all. If the experts say that this is not necessary, if the constitutional judges say that it is not proportionate, then phase three will not come.

“Phase three”, that is, then the state can prescribe a vaccination date if unvaccinated people have persistently refused to be vaccinated by then. Whereby “until then” is a long way.

Because “phase one” means: The law is law, but nothing happens at first. No controls, no penalties – with a transitional period until mid-March. Then, from March 16th – in phase 2 – the police will carry out routine checks. The first penalties are imminent, the vaccination register is compared with the population register, and the unvaccinated receive friendly letters of request.

Builder instead of blaster

In the Federal Council in Vienna there was another attempt to reconcile instead of dividing, under the supervision of Vice President Sonja Zwazl from the ÖVP – who also claimed her right to speak: “Our society needs master builders and not demolition experts,” she said.

“Sprengmeister” meant the representatives of the right-wing populist FPÖ, who – contrary to the rules – repeatedly held up protest signs against what they call “compulsory vaccination”. FPÖ man Franz Ofner draws his picture of Austria:

They have created a country in which they trample on basic and civil rights every day and harass, harass and, above all, divide the people in our country.

Important provincial governors try it with arguments

It is a country in which the FPÖ recently brought 20,000 opponents of vaccination onto the streets for a counter-demonstration in Vienna. Today there were only 20. Important provincial governors – i.e. prime ministers – like Vorarlberg’s Markus Wallner try to use arguments. Omikron has changed a lot, but compulsory vaccination is still necessary:

The reason why Omikron is now mild – and mild is yes, that everyone who comes to a hospital can go after two or three days, the reason for this is the vaccination – and nothing else.

And Austria’s Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein says that the aim is to make a safe autumn possible with compulsory vaccination. All other precautionary rules would help, but not enough “to prevent the circle of openings and closings, the lockdowns.”

The same fronts as in the National Council

The broad majority is in favor of compulsory vaccination, including in the Federal Council – with the same fronts as in the National Council. Only the FPÖ representatives are still categorically against it, with the opposition SPÖ there were isolated justified doubts.

This also reflects the mood of the voters to some extent: the majority is increasingly relaxed about the need for vaccinations, but the minority is still unconvinced. Now the signature of the Federal President, who will check whether the law is in line with the constitution, is still missing. And then vaccination is compulsory in Austria.

Austria: Federal Council majority for compulsory vaccination, which comes in stages

Wolfgang Vichtl, ARD Wien, 3.2.2022 · 21:09

Leave a Comment