Austria Introduces Mandatory Vaccination against COVID-19
Austria became the first EU country to introduce compulsory vaccination against COVID-19. This was announced at a press conference by Federal Chancellor Alexander Schalenberg after government consultations with the heads of the Austrian provinces. This measure is expected to enter into force on 1 February 2022.
Due to the extremely high number of newly infected people in the country, a lockdown will be introduced on Monday, which will last for a maximum of 20 days. It will be decided 10 days later whether and where this final measure will be extended. On December 13, the lockdown for vaccinated and cured people with the relevant green certificate is automatically canceled. For the unvaccinated, the restrictions remain in force.
The Federal Chancellor justified the need for drastic measures by the fact that the awareness campaign, which lasted several months to persuade about 35 percent of the population to be vaccinated, did not work and the strict measures were necessary due to lack of solidarity and carelessness by part of the population. The Chancellor noted that certain political forces also acted for this.
Health Minister Wolfgang Mukstein emphasized the overcrowding of the healthcare system and called on the unvaccinated not to endanger themselves and their loved ones, and stressed the importance of the third dose in creating lasting immunity.
Gunther Plater, chairman of the Conference of Provincial Heads, argued that the introduction of compulsory vaccination was the only measure to tackle the pandemic in the country. During the lockdown weeks, an infrastructure will be set up across the country to enable anyone wishing to receive a first, second and third needle.
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