All Austrian citizens from the age of 18 will be required to be vaccinated against coronavirus. According to Spiegel online, the National Council (lower house of parliament) of the Republic on Thursday evening, January 20, by a majority vote approved the bill, introduced by the conservative “green” government. This would make Austria the first country in the EU to make vaccination of adults compulsory from February 1, 2022. The law is valid until the end of 2024.
The parliamentary debate lasted nearly seven hours. The main opponent was the extreme right-wing Austrian Freedom Party, which strongly opposed the government forces. As a result, 137 deputies voted in favor of the law and 33 against.
For young people aged 14 to 17, vaccination would remain voluntary. Initially, the government wanted to exempt only children under 14 from vaccinations. Pregnant women and anyone who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also receive a waiver.
There will be a transition period until mid-March. During this time, “all households must be informed in writing” of the obligation to vaccinate. After that, authorities will begin checking the “vaccine status” of citizens, including “as part of street traffic,” Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein warned. He called the mandatory vaccination “an act of solidarity and cohesion.” “The more people get vaccinated, the fewer will die from the coronavirus pandemic,” the official said. There is a fine for the unvaccinated, ranging from 600 to 3,600 euros. The violation will cost more for those who ignore a specific vaccination requirement and miss the scheduled appointment time for the procedure.