Austria: Compulsory vaccination law will take effect tomorrow

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In Austria, the coronavirus vaccination will be compulsory starting tomorrow, February 5, 2022. The law was published in the Federal Law Gazette today and will come into force the following day. Prior to this, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen certified that the “Federal Law on the Obligation to Vaccinate against Covid-19” had come into force in accordance with the Constitution, and Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) countersigned it.

The vaccination obligation had been decided on 20 January by the National Council, yesterday also the federal state chamber of parliament agreed with the Bundesrat. It will apply to all persons resident in Austria from the age of 18. Exceptions will be made for pregnant women and those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, as well as – to a limited extent – for convalescents.

Regulation pending
The penalty range for non-compliance is up to 600 euros in the “simplified procedure” and up to 3,600 euros in the “ordinary procedure”. In the first phase after entry into force, however, there will be no penalties until mid-March, but only from March 16 (phase two). A decree from the Minister of Health is still pending, which will regulate the details of enforcement – for example, with regard to approved vaccines and exemptions from the vaccination requirement.

As soon as ELGA GmbH has created the technical conditions for data reconciliation, all those who have not yet been vaccinated will receive a reminder urging them to vaccinate. If it is epidemiologically necessary, the third phase will then also come into effect. Anyone who then fails to present a valid vaccination certificate on a vaccination deadline set by the government will be issued an automated vaccination penalty order.

FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl saw the certification by the Federal President as “ushering in an inglorious era for the rule of law and the fundamental rights and freedoms of Austrians.” These rights would be curtailed by the “vaccination compulsion”, as he called it in a dispatch, without evidence and to an unprecedented extent. Moreover, the law is unconstitutional and not proportionate.

  • source: ORF.at/agencies/picture: pixabay.com

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