Austria’s government presents draft law for compulsory vaccination

The vaccination requirement in Austria is coming: the government in Vienna presented the corresponding draft law on Sunday. Adults over the age of 18 should therefore have to be vaccinated against the corona virus as planned from the beginning of February – otherwise there is a risk of severe fines. There should be exceptions to the vaccination requirement for pregnant women and for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Young people are also exempt from the regulation.

“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. Accordingly, vaccination for young people between the ages of 14 and 17 should remain voluntary. 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. There is still a transitional phase until mid-March, during which all households will be informed in writing about the measure and no penalties will be imposed.

According to the plans, the obligation to vaccinate should then become 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 amount of the penalty depends, among other things, on income and assets. In the case of repeated notifications, the fine also increases.

According to the APA news agency, the draft also provides for a third phase of compulsory vaccination depending on the epidemiological situation. Then unvaccinated people would be assigned a vaccination appointment. Should they fail to do so, they would automatically receive penal orders. In order to activate this third phase, Parliament would need to be approved again.

The governing parties ÖVP and Greens have agreed on the draft law with the social democratic SPÖ and the liberal Neos. The acceptance of the template is therefore considered secured. Parliament could pass the law as early as Thursday. Only the right-wing populist FPÖ strictly rejects compulsory vaccination.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets against the plans

In Vienna, tens of thousands of people took to the streets against the plans 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.

Like many European countries, Austria is currently struggling with another corona wave, which is mainly 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. There is a warning against tourist trips to Austria – this should particularly affect winter tourism. (AFP)

Source From: Tagesspiegel

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