SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

COVID-19 VACCINES

Who is exempt from Austria’s new vaccine mandate?

After lawmakers voted to make Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for people in Austria, here's a closer look at the small number of exceptions that apply.

Who is exempt from Austria's new vaccine mandate?
People queuing for their Covid-19 vaccines shortly after the vaccine mandate was first announced. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Most of the exemptions from the mandate are time-limited and are valid until the end of the month following the end of the reason for exemption.

For example, someone who turns 18 on June 7th would need to get their vaccine before the end of July; someone who gave birth on August 27th would have until the end of September to get vaccinated.

The mandate itself is currently set to apply until January 31st, 2024, but the law requires that the situation be monitored every three months to determine if it is still justified by the pandemic situation.

Here are the exemption categories explained.

Children

The vaccine mandate only applies for people aged over 18.

That’s even though vaccines are currently offered to children from the age of five in Austria.

An earlier draft of the bill would have begun the mandate from the age of 14, but this was tweaked.

Pregnant people

People who are pregnant are exempt from the vaccine mandate for the duration of their pregnancy.

People with medical proof of recent recovery from Covid-19

Anyone who has had a recent Covid-19 infection is exempt from the requirement to be vaccinated for 180 days after their positive test.

People in this category will need to have a medical certificate confirming their recovered status to show in the event of checks.

People with proof of a medical exemption from vaccination

The Ministry of Health has not yet published final details on which illnesses or conditions are sufficient for a medical exemption or how these should be proven.

It’s expected to be a short list, including for example people who have recently undergone an organ transplant and those with certain autoimmune diseases. But it may not be exactly the same as the current exemptions from showing proof of 2G.

Only a certain group of doctors will be allowed to issue exemption certificates (public health officers, epidemic doctors, or the patient’s doctor at a specialist outpatient clinic — in German the terms are Amtsärzte, Epidemieärzte and Spezialambulanzen), and it will not be possible to get these from a GP.

Tourists

Several readers of The Local have been in touch to ask if the vaccine mandate will apply to tourists or only people resident in the country. The answer is the latter; people resident in Austria will be required to get the vaccine. This includes non-Austrians, as long as you are a registered resident in Austria (ie. you have completed a Meldezettel, which is a requirement for anyone planning to stay in Austria for three months or more). This will also cover some people with second homes in Austria because if they have a residence (Wohnsitz) registered in Austria.

Tourists will be affected by two other sets of rules: the rules for entry and domestic rules around vaccine passes.

From January 24th, the so-called 2G+ rule will apply to travellers from all countries entering Austria, meaning they need either full vaccination or a recent recovery from the virus, as well as either a booster dose or a negative PCR test. There are a few cases in which travellers can follow slightly more lenient rules, including those travelling for urgent reasons and Austrian residents.

Meanwhile, separate rules govern which public places require proof of 2G (full vaccination or recent recovery). At the moment, that includes for example restaurants, cafes, hotels, museums, and large events, and this applies to both locals and tourists.

Member comments

  1. “Pregnant people”??

    Seriously, is The local going to provide information or push every leftist example of political correctness? Is The Local a forum for information or a place of not-so-subtle indoctrination? It is very sad. I have a little son; every honest person on Earth knows he will never be pregnant. I have a little daughter too. I hope she becomes a mother someday. These thoughts, these facts should not be controversial.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19 VACCINES

Austria recommends Covid booster shot for children aged five and over

The commission also recommends three doses of the vaccine for people who have recovered from the coronavirus disease.

Austria recommends Covid booster shot for children aged five and over

Austria’s National Vaccination Board has recommended that children from the age of five get a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, the “booster” dose.

“This third vaccination should take place at the latest at the beginning of the school year ahead of the expected next waves of infection in autumn”, the board said in a press statement.

The third dose is recommended six months after the second shot, the commission added.

Additionally, the updated recommendation given by the government body also clarified that a total of three vaccinations are needed for “the best possible and long-term protection”, even among people who have already been infected with Covid-19.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: The latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria

The commission stated that “from an immunological point of view, these vaccinations are to be regarded as a basic vaccination”. This means that, in the future, the Covi-19 vaccination schedule will consider three doses of an approved vaccine.

According to the board statement, an infection with the coronavirus would only lead to a postponement of the vaccinations but shouldn’t replace any dose.

Austria’s Health Minister Johannes Rauch reinforced the need for vaccination in the country, which currently has fewer than 70 per cent of its population with two doses of the vaccine up to date.

“The corona vaccination has saved the lives of countless people and continues to do so. The ongoing adaptation of recommendations ensures that new scientific findings are constantly incorporated”, Rauch said in a press statement.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What are Austria’s plans to bring back the vaccine mandate?

The new recommendation can be found on Austria’s Health Ministry website. However, the ministry hasn’t specified how the recommendation would affect the Covid-19 passes or the “green pass” validity, especially those held by people who have recovered from the disease.

Covid numbers

Austria this Monday reported 4,111 new coronavirus infections, with 89,861 PCR tests taken in 24 hours. According to the Health Ministry, there are currently 1,492 people hospitalised with the virus (26 fewer than the day before), and 124 people are in intensive care units with Covid.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,054 people have died from the Covid-19.

The alpine country has currently 68.4 per cent of its population with a valid vaccination certificate, and 54.5 per cent of its population has received the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

READ ALSO: Austria to keep masks only in ‘essential places’ from April 16th

Austria has recently removed almost all of its coronavirus restrictions, including the need to show a valid vaccination certificate to enter bars and restaurants. The country also dropped its FFP2 mask mandate in all indoor areas except for “essential” places such as public transport, health areas, and supermarkets.

SHOW COMMENTS