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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.


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.


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.

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What to know about Austria’s new advice on Covid vaccines

As the coronavirus pandemic progressed, each country developed its own vaccination recommendation, which often changed. Here is the new advice from the Austrian vaccination panel.

What to know about Austria's new advice on Covid vaccines

The Austrian National Vaccination Panel has updated its recommendations on Covid vaccination on several points, the Ministry of Health announced.

“Special attention continues to be paid to the completion of the basic immunisation, which is recommended for all persons five years of age and older, and to the booster vaccination,” according to the Ministry of Health.

The booster shot is generally available to all persons 12 years of age and older and is free of charge, but it is especially recommended for persons 60 years of age and older and those at risk.

READ ALSO: Masks against Covid and flu: What’s ahead for Austria this winter

In Austria, the basic immunisation against Covid-19 consists of three vaccine doses. A fourth dose, also known as a booster shot, is also recommended.

What is new in the recommendation?

Austria is adding a new coronavirus vaccine, from Sanofi (VidPrevtyn Beta), to the list of offers against the virus. The new vaccine is protein-based and has already been approved by the European authorities. 

In Austria, the Sanofi vaccine can be used from the third vaccination onwards on people older than 18. The offer will be available at the vaccination sites in the coming week at the earliest, according to the Ministry. 

READ ALSO: Colds and flu: What to do and say if you get sick in Austria

Another change is that the variant Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 from BioNTech/Pfizer will also be used for the third vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years. 

This vaccine is specially adapted to the virus variants Omicron BA.4 and 5. It is now available for children in a special application shot that should be in vaccination sites starting next week at the earliest. 

READ ALSO: What to expect from the ski season in Austria this winter

Also included in the recommendations is a clarification specifically on an additional booster vaccination (fifth vaccination). 

People at risk from the age of 18, and those from the age of 60 can receive the additional booster vaccination four months after the fourth vaccination. According to the vaccination panel, no fifth vaccination is necessary for healthy people under 60.