Home LATEST NEWS Austrians must be vaccinated or face a fine | Coronavirus

Austrians must be vaccinated or face a fine | Coronavirus

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This measure, unprecedented in the European Union, was adopted on January 20 by Parliament. It came into effect on Saturday.

The new law is the culmination of a process that began in November in the face of the rapid spread of the pandemic. The government has decided to opt for the hard way despite the criticism, standing out from its European partners.

No other country in Europe follows us on the compulsory vaccinedenounces Manuel Krautgartner, who has engaged in politics against health rules in Linz.

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

In a vaccination center in Vienna, which has taken up residence since the end of November in the premises of an Art Deco swimming pool to combine business with pleasure, several dozen people are waiting.

The humanitarian association Arbeiter Samariter Bund, responsible for supervising the operations, has noted a tremor in recent days.% compared to last week”,”text”:”We recorded a small increase of around 9% compared to last week”}}”>We recorded a small increase of around 9% compared to last weeksaid manager Michael Hausmann.

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Among the 7000 injections administered on average daily in Vienna, only 10% are vaccinated for the first time, he specifies.

Erika Viskancove, a 33-year-old accountant, came to receive her third dose. I sincerely believe that the law is the best way to defeat the pandemic, she says. Another interviewee calls on other countries to follow the Austrian example.

Melanie, who did not wish to give her last name, did not choose the injection out of conviction. I didn’t want to stay locked up at home, explains this 23-year-old waitress. In Austria, non-vaccinated people are excluded from restaurants, sports and cultural venues. From now on they will also be subject to fines, which she judges unhealthy.

Get vaccinated rather than pay the fine

All adult residents are affected by the text of the law, with the exception of pregnant women, those who contracted the virus less than 180 days ago and those who can be exempted for medical reasons.

The checks, however, will not begin until mid-March. Penalties may then be applied, for an amount ranging from $875 to $5,260, but they will be lifted if the offender complies within two weeks.

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A method gentle who might not be very effective, reacts Gerhard Kammer, a 65-year-old technician. Himself favorable to the law which protect us all as a communityhe thinks that a a certain number, even a large part antivax will pay and not get vaccinated.

If more than 60% of Austrians support the government decision according to a recent survey, large sections of the population remain firmly opposed to it.

For several weeks after the announcement of the project, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to castigate a measure described as radical and draconian.

Critics have also emerged on the meaning of this law in the face of the lesser severity of the Omicron variant and the explosion in the number of cases.

But for the Minister of Health, Wolfgang Mückstein, we must prepare to fight against new variants which may appear in the coming months.

The vaccine passport is required in an increasing number of countries for certain professions or activities, but anti-COVID vaccination for all remains an exception.

It has thus been decreed in Ecuador, Indonesia and two authoritarian states in Central Asia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

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