Only valid since this spring
Corona vaccination obligation in Austria will be abolished
06/23/2022, 2:17 p.m
Austria’s conservative-green federal government buries the general corona vaccination requirement. It only came into force in February. The background is the rapidly decreasing willingness of the population to be immunized. Health Minister Rauch relies on persuasion.
The corona vaccination requirement in Austria will be abolished. This was announced by Health Minister Johannes Rauch in Vienna. In the end, the law was on hold anyway. “The obligation to vaccinate does not bring anyone to vaccinate,” said the Green politician. The vaccination requirement was announced at the end of 2021 and applied from February. It was supported by all parliamentary parties except for the right-wing FPÖ. Austria was a pioneer in the EU. Other countries only had age-specific regulations.
It was originally planned in Austria, starting March 15, to threaten anyone who refuses a fine of up to 3,600 euros. But already at the beginning of March there were indications of a move away from the obligation to vaccinate. At that time, the government of the conservative ÖVP and the Greens said that the requirement was not proportionate to the prevailing Omicron variant.
The debate about compulsory vaccination has torn deep rifts among families, clubs and companies, said Rauch. Society needs solidarity, especially at a time marked by many worries, massive inflation and the Ukraine war. With a view to new corona waves, the population must be convinced of the usefulness of a booster vaccination. “We can only do this if the willingness is based on voluntary participation,” said Rauch.
Despite the threat of mandatory vaccination, interest in an injection had declined significantly since the beginning of the year. Since March there has been a particularly pronounced lull in the vaccination stations. On Wednesday, only 140 people received an injection for the first time. 3,500 received the second dose or a booster dose. 62.4 percent of Austrians have valid vaccinations.
“The Mask Will Come Again”
As early as June 1st, the mask requirement was largely suspended in the Alpine republic. A mask only has to be worn in hospitals and old people’s and nursing homes, said Health Minister Rauch at the end of May. “The pandemic is giving us a breathing space,” said the Green politician at the time. However, the move was not meant to announce the end of the corona pandemic.
The mask requirement, which is currently still in force in supermarkets, drugstores, petrol stations and on public transport, will only be suspended over the summer. The regulation is initially valid for three months. “The mask will come back,” said Rauch. All scenarios would assume that one or the other variant would trigger a new wave in autumn. “Of course we will then need protective measures again.”
Similar to Germany, the number of new corona infections is currently increasing significantly. The seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants in Austria is currently around 550. The number of patients in the normal wards of hospitals has recently increased again. The situation in the intensive care units has so far remained unchanged. The occupancy of the beds with Covid 19 sufferers is similarly low there as in summer 2021.