Austria to scrap mandatory Covid vaccination, months after it became law | World News


The Austrian government said on Thursday it would scrap the country’s controversial policy of compulsory vaccination against the coronavirus, months after it became law.

The measure – which was previously the European Union – came into legal effect in early February and the first investigation was planned for mid-March, with the refusal to fine the jab up to 3,600 euros ($4,100).

Although the measure was suspended in March before any investigation was carried out, the government said such a far-reaching measure could no longer be justified by the threat of the coronavirus.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch told a news conference that the move had caused deep divisions among nine million people in the country, adding that the element of compulsion had prevented some even from giving befitting reply.

“The mandate is not getting anyone to vaccinate,” he said.

Roach said the Omicron version also “changed the rules,” as the wave driven by that version led to cases with mild symptoms.

The mandate was implemented for all over 18 except pregnant women, who had the virus less than 180 days ago and who had medical exemption.

August Voiginger, the head of the ruling People’s Party’s (OeVP) parliamentary group, said at the same press conference that he expected the law on mandatory vaccinations to be repealed in the coming weeks.

Ever since it was first launched last year as a way to increase Austria’s vaccination rate, the prospect of compulsory vaccination has prompted frequent street protests attracting thousands.

Current official figures show that currently only 62 percent of the population has a valid vaccination certificate, lagging behind many other Western European countries.

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So far more than 18,700 people have died due to the virus in Austria.


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