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Covid-19: compulsory vaccination comes into force in Austria

Covid-19: compulsory vaccination comes into force in Austria

The Austrian government has decided to opt for the hard way despite the criticism, standing out from its European partners.

An unprecedented measure in the European Union. Since Saturday February 5, Austrians over the age of 18 must be vaccinated against Covid-19 or risk a heavy fine.

The law on the subject was adopted on January 20 by Parliament, marking the culmination of a process started in November in the face of the meteoric spread of the pandemic. All adult residents are concerned by the text of the law, with the exception of pregnant women (for whom the benefits of vaccination are nevertheless proven), those who contracted the virus less than 180 days ago and finally of those who can be exempted for medical reasons.

The checks, however, will not begin until mid-March: sanctions may then be applied, for an amount varying from 600 to 3,600 euros, but they will be lifted if the offender complies within two weeks.

The government has decided to opt for the hard way despite the criticism, standing out from its European partners. In neighboring Germany, a similar project, championed by the new Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz, began to be debated on January 26 in the Bundestag. But it has fallen behind amid divisions within the political class.

Despite the announcement of the implementation of this drastic measure, the vaccination rate has hardly taken off in Austria, still falling below the levels observed in France or Spain – around 70% of the population.

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