February 6, 2023

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Austria is two steps away from introducing mandatory vaccination

On Thursday, the lower house of the Austrian parliament approved a law starting from February 1 obligating most adults in the country to be vaccinated against the Corona virus. Introducing the necessity of vaccination It was already expected by the Austrian government last November and would make Austria the first European country to implement such a measure. Now the law must be voted on in the Senate and then signed by the President of the Republic, steps considered only a formality.

The vaccination obligation will concern all adults, except for pregnant women, those who have recovered from COVID-19 for less than 180 days and those who cannot be vaccinated for valid medical reasons. A transition period towards full implementation of the obligation is expected until mid-March: after which those who refuse to vaccinate may incur fines of up to 3,600 euros.

The law was approved by the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority of votes in favour, 137 to 33: the only political force that voted against it is the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ). Party leader, Herbert Kekel, claimed That the obligation to vaccinate “would pave the way for authoritarianism in Austria” and said he would personally continue to refuse vaccination.

Austria has a population of about 9 million and as of November it had gradually reinforced The imposition of restrictions on non-vaccinated people, the imposition of extensive restrictions and closures led to protests in both Vienna and other cities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1.5 million coronavirus infections and 13,500 deaths from causes related to COVID-19 have been recorded in the country. Currently, about 75 percent of the population has completed the course of vaccination (people who have been fully vaccinated in Italy are close to doing so).80 percent of the population).

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