The continuous spread of Covid-19 infection in Austria had compelled the government to impose various restrictions for the unvaccinated people to enter shops and restaurants. However, the restrictions are going to be eased slowly but soon, as the government is planning to make the law of the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory. The unvaccinated people can entertain guests provided they show a negative test report.
The Covid-19 vaccine mandate for adults has been introduced in Austria and will soon be turned into law once President Alexander Van der Bellen signed his approval. Prior to the President’s signature, the upper house of the Austrian Parliament has voted in favor of the mandate with 47 members in favor of the mandate as opposed to 12 members opposing the mandate.
Everything To Know About Vaccine Mandate In Austria
The move was initiated due to a sudden surge of coronavirus infection in the European countries due to the omicron variant, a highly transmissible but less infectious strain of the coronavirus.
The newly framed law in regards to vaccination for Covid-19 will be effective till 31 January 2024 and Austria will become the first country in the European Union to implement such a law. Germany and Austria are on the leading lists of highly vaccinated countries in the European Union.
Other countries like Germany and Switzerland are still in discussion regarding the issue. Switzerland however has taken a step ahead by conducting a public poll to decide whether vaccination can be made compulsory before making it a mandate.
The health ministry has further clarified that the new law of vaccine mandate will not help to bring down the surge of infection cases caused by omicron variant since it is highly infectious, but the mandate for the vaccine will help people to get protected from future variants. However, it will take some time to get things in place and the law gets implemented and effective.
The details of the new law are to be informed to every household through the post very soon. The lawmakers will ensure that police start checking people’s vaccination status randomly, even at traffic stops. They will also ensure that Covid-19 restrictions are well followed strictly.
During the checks, if anyone is unable to produce the proof of vaccination, in that case, they have to give it in writing their inability to produce the certificate and also have to pay a fine, between 600 euros to 3600 euros, if they argue for the cause. Persons not following vaccine mandates may also be fined, up to four times a year, which may keep on increasing until the law expires.
The vaccination centers are expecting more turn out of people at their centers after the mandate gets implemented.
The exemption is given to pregnant women who will not get vaccinated before evaluating their health risks. The exemption is also relevant for new Covid-19 patients and for them it will be for 180 days from the day of getting RT PCR positive report.
Still, a few doctors and epidemiologists believe that the vaccine mandate at this juncture is of less importance since the highly infectious omicron variant with milder symptoms has already made a lot of changes in society, and now everyone has got enough immunity either in the form of infection or vaccination.
Travelers from the United States to Austria should be fully vaccinated and booster dose if the initial dose period has crossed over 270 days.
Austria had seen many increasing coronavirus cases in the last few months, but now it is showing signs of decline in the daily active cases. Once implemented, the vaccine mandate law may also help in reducing future hospitalizations and even deaths. The government is also urging eligible citizens to get booster doses.