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Austria makes anti-covid vaccine mandatory

Austria makes anti-covid vaccine mandatory

The Lower House of the Austrian Parliament passed a bill that makes vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for adults from 1 February.

Faced with a rise in infections, the government said in November it was planning the mandate. Since then she has increased the age from which the mandate will be implemented, from 14 to 18.

Approximately 72% of Austria's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe. Following the completion of a fourth national block last month, the highly contagious Omicron variant has pushed infections to record levels, but the government wants to avoid another block.

"Making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory is an urgent exit ... from the ongoing restrictions on our personal and fundamental rights like the ones we have had to endure for the last two years," said Social Democrat opposition leader Pamela Rendi.

The bill imposes fines of up to 600 euros ($ 680) after inspections begin on March 15th. Those who oppose that initial fine will face a maximum fine of 3,600 euros.

Italy has made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for those aged 50 and over, while Greece has done the same for those over 60, and various European countries have done so for some professions such as medical staff.