“As planned, we will make vaccination mandatory in early February,” conservative Karl Nahammer, who heads the Austrian government in coalition with the Greens, told a news conference.
Throughout the week, the topic sparked heated debate, both in Parliament and in society.
The measure deeply divides Austrian society, at a time when 71.5% of the eligible population has a full course of vaccination, a low number compared to other European countries.
On Saturday, 27,000 people demonstrated against the measure in the capital, Vienna, accusing the government of not respecting individual freedoms.
The chancellor stressed that “it is a sensitive project” but “according to the constitution”.
The bill must be approved by Parliament on Thursday, with the Conservatives and Greens holding a large majority, and for that measure, they also rely on the SPD and LDP leaders. Only the far right is against it.
Karl Nahamer said there would be an “adaptation phase” until mid-March, after which “controls will be implemented” and fines will be imposed on those who have not been vaccinated.
Violation will be punished with fines between 600 and 3,600 euros (in case of recurrence).
It was on the table, but the vaccination of minors over the age of 14 was abandoned and the procedure would only apply to adults, the chancellor stressed, noting the exceptions for pregnant women and all people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
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