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Austria becomes first EU country to make vaccines compulsory

Austria is the first European country to order its whole population to get vaccinated or face stiff fines, as well as having reimposed a full COVID-19 lockdown.

Roughly two-thirds of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe, reports NBC News. Its infections are among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 991 per 100,000 people.

Austrians who refuse to get a coronavirus vaccines will face fines of up to 3,600 euros (US$4,000), once mandatory inoculations kick in next year.

Austria had introduced a lockdown for all unvaccinated citizens on Monday 15 November, but since then infections have continued to set new records.

The two worst-hit provinces, Salzburg and Upper Austria, last week said they would introduce their own lockdowns, raising pressure on the government to do the same nationally.

“We have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated,” Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told a news conference, saying the lockdown would start on Monday (22 November) and the requirement to be vaccinated on 1 February 2022. “It hurts that such measures still have to be taken.”

The issue has also deepened a rift between Schallenberg’s conservatives and their coalition partner, the left-wing Greens. Schallenberg said only days ago that he did not want to impose extra restrictions on the unvaccinated, even as Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein called for a night-time curfew.

 

NBC News article – Austria reimposes full Covid lockdown, makes vaccination compulsory (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

From Sydney to Vienna: Restricting the unvaccinated underclass

 

COVID lessons from a contrarian Sweden

 

Denmark scraps all restrictions, thanks to a COVID ‘super-weapon’

 

Vaccine hesitancy — one of the world's top 10 health threats

 

France: Vaccine mandatory for healthcare staff and 'health pass' for mall shoppers

 

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