€500 bonus: How Austria wants to incentivise Covid vaccination

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer  (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer is in favour of financial incentives to vaccinate. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Just over a month before Covid vaccines will be made mandatory, the Austrian government wants to incentivise getting the jab, including a proposal for €500 bonuses.

From February 2022, everyone in Austria will be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 via a nationwide mandate. 

While Covid vaccinations will become mandatory – with high fines forecast for those who don’t get the jab – bonuses of up to 500 euros could be on the table to encourage people to get the jab beforehand. 

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Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he was open to vaccination bonuses before the mandatory vaccination scheme comes into effect in 2022. 

“Everything that helps us to get more people to vaccinate before the vaccination is actually mandated… sends a positive signal for our society,” Nehammer said. 

€500 bonus on the table?

One plan is to pay €500 bonuses for getting the jab. 

Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) said anyone who gets the jab from now until February 1st should receive a €500 voucher. 

SPÖ boss Pamela Rendi-Wagner previously proposed a plan whereby vouchers would be made available to anyone who encouraged someone to be vaccinated, i.e. not the person themselves but others who played a role in convincing them to do so. 

Nehammer however indicated he was reluctant to endorse any plan which did not reward those who had already got the jab. 

“But one thing is also clear: it can then not only affect those who are newly vaccinated, but of course also applies to everyone who was willing to be vaccinated.”

A statement from the Ministry of Health released on Wednesday did not confirm or deny the plan, but said all options remained on the table. 

“In order to be able to increase the vaccination rate even further, it is important to focus on persuasion and education. Of course, there should be no prohibitions on thinking and various possible solutions should continue to be discussed,” the Ministry said. 

From a political perspective, only the Austrian Freedom Party and the Neos indicated they would be against such a plan. 

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