Mandatory vaccination to be abolished

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Compulsory vaccination has officially been abolished. Now the government has decided to cancel it. A corresponding motion was introduced on Thursday in a special session of the National Council. It will be decided in July. Criticism of the abolition of the previously only suspended duty was absent.

The government argued the step, on the one hand, with the lack of acceptance, on the other hand, with the fact that the general conditions had changed with the less-lethal Omicron variant: “The vaccination obligation does not bring anyone to vaccinate,” said Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), who had inherited the project from his predecessor and the provincial governors who once pushed for it.

Compulsory vaccination was introduced under different conditions, Rauch said. At that time, he said, the delta was the dominant variant, causing high hospitalization rates: “Intensive care units were at the limit of their capacity.” He also supported mandatory vaccination at the time, the minister stressed. “But Omicron changed the rules.”

He said the vaccine’s effectiveness against infection had been reduced with the new variant. Rauch noted that even people willing to be vaccinated are now more difficult to convince of the need for a booster. August Wöginger, head of the VP club, also referred to the milder course of the Omicron variant. In addition, one must look at the reaction of the people. He said: If you order something with duty from the state, the switch is flipped in some. “With compulsory vaccination, we have not brought additional people to vaccinate.”

Although one is now moving from “disaster mode” to a “phase of living with the virus,” vaccination – along with wearing masks and testing – remains an essential means of countering the virus, Rauch touted immunizations.

The vaccination obligation had come into force at the beginning of February. Punishment was supposed to start in mid-March. However, this did not happen because an expert commission set up to evaluate the vaccination requirement did not consider it proportionate. Commission member Herwig Kollaritsch showed up then on Thursday also moderately sadly over the end of the vaccination obligation. The factual basis for such a measure was missing, said the vaccination expert. If, then one should think about a vaccination obligation for specific groups.

Suppose one assumes that the currently circulating Omicron subvariants will remain dominant and that no “wild mutant” will emerge. In that case, it cannot be assumed that the pressure on intensive care units will increase significantly again, said clinical pharmacologist Markus Zeitlinger. “From this point of view, I understand that the not very popular vaccination requirement is now being abolished,” said the head of the University Department of Clinical Pharmacology at MedUni/AKH Vienna.

  • source:APA/picture: pixabay.com
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