Austria is planning to implement some of the harshest penalties for citizens who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccines. Refusing the jab will cost Austrians thousands of euros in fines.
In a meeting with the Alpine republic’s heads of state, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that the Covid-19 vaccine mandate will affect virtually every single person in the country.
The mandate is set to come into effect starting February 1st, 2022. There will be exemptions for those who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons. It has yet to be determined the age from which people will be required to get the vaccine.
To coerce Austrians into getting vaccinated, the government is going to fine people who refuse up to 3,600 euros (£3,059). The fine will increase to 7,200 (£6,118) for those who have already been fined twice.
Once the vaccine mandate goes into effect in the New Year, authorities will first offer people who have not been jabbed an appointment to get their first doses. Penalties will be placed on people who reject the offer.
Additionally, Covid-19 booster shots will also be made mandatory. Minister for the Constitution, Karoline Edtstadler, said that fully vaccinated Austrians who refuse to take booster shots will be fined up to 1,500 euros (£1,274). Edtstadler said: “The plan is not only for people to take the first shot but that they really make it to full immunisation.”
Chancellor Schallenberg said: “For a long time the consensus in this country was that we don’t want a vaccine mandate. In spite of months of persuasion, we have not managed to convince enough people to be vaccinated.”
He claimed that the only recourse left for the government is to make the Covid-19 vaccines mandatory. “We don’t want a fifth wave, we don’t want a sixth or a seventh wave,” he said.
Despite over 66 percent of the country being fully vaccinated, the covid jabs do not seem to have protected the country from another wave of the virus. Statistics show that daily infections are still around 9,000 after peaking above 15,000 in November.
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