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COVID-19 VACCINES

Austria to roll out Covid booster shots from Tuesday

From Tuesday, anyone in the Austrian capital who has received their second jab more than six months ago will be eligible for a booster shot.

A man waits to be vaccinated at a vaccine centre in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP
A man waits to be vaccinated at a vaccine centre in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

A third Covid vaccination – known as a ‘booster shot’ – will be available to everyone in Vienna from November 2nd.

So far, Vienna has administered 50,000 booster vaccinations to people in risk groups, but the vaccinations will now be open to all. 

“Starting tomorrow, everyone in Vienna can pick up the third vaccination after six months,” mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) said on Monday. 

“Everyone is called upon to pick up the third jab, only then can we safely get through the pandemic.”

Everyone aged 12 and over is encouraged to get a third jab. 

READ MORE: How do I get my Covid booster shot in Austria?

Medical Association president  Thomas Szekeres, said all practicing doctors would administer the vaccinations, but said the boosters were particularly important for older people, those with previous illnesses or weakened immune systems. 

Those who have had the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccination are encouraged to get a booster with an MRNA vaccine at least 28 days after their shot. 

Everyone in Vienna will be contacted via post with information on how to get their booster shot. 

You can also contact your GP or vaccination centre, or click the following link. 

READ MORE: How do I register for the coronavirus vaccine in Vienna?

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Austria formally scraps mandatory Covid vaccination law

Just months after announcing mandatory nationwide Covid vaccinations under threats of financial penalties, Austria has unanimously decided to scrap the law.

Austria formally scraps mandatory Covid vaccination law

Austria’s National Council unanimously decided to repeal the vaccination obligation law and associated regulations, the Parliament said on Thursday. 

In making the announcement, the ÖVP and Greens coalition stated that the lifting is in no way intended to reduce the relevance of the vaccination’s contribution to managing the pandemic, particularly concerning lowering the impact of severe courses of the disease. 

They continue to incentivise people to get the vaccines, but now there is no legal obligation.

End of the road for controversial mandate

The controversial measure was announced late in 2021 and had been put into effect in February, with penalties for non-compliance to be introduced in March. 

The laws included a set of regulations allowing police to check people’s vaccinated status. Those that could not prove they were either vaccinated, or recently recovered from the disease, would have to pay a fine.

Before these penalties were introduced however, the law was suspended until August. 

At the time, the government said the suspension was due to the combined impact of the lower virulence of the Omicron variant and the impact of widespread vaccination coverage across the country. 

“The omicron variant changed the situation”, health minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said at the time. 

He added that the law was introduced in a different context and was supported by “a clear majority” at the time when hospitals were full and “intensive care units were on the limit”.

The minister said that the new variant has reduced the effectiveness of vaccination against infections and has caused less severe courses of the disease.

“Even people who are willing to vaccinate in principle are now more difficult to convince of the need for a third dose”.

Rauch said the obligation to vaccinate did not increase the take up of the Covid jab. Instead, it “opened deep trenches in Austrian society”, according to the minister.

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