The Austrian National Council (lower house of parliament) today passed a bill to introduce compulsory vaccination against coronavirus in the country, local newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports. It is understood that the initiative will take effect from February this year.
The bill was supported by 137 deputies, 33 opposed. Another 13 council members abstained from voting.
According to the document, all residents of Austria over the age of 18 must be vaccinated against coronavirus. The requirement does not apply only to people with a medical tap, as well as to pregnant women and those who recovered from COVID-19 less than six months ago. Refusal of vaccinations without a valid reason is punishable by a fine of up to 3,600 euros.
According to Kronen Zeitung, the bill was passed despite harsh criticism and protests from local residents. Thus, over 100,000 statements against the initiative were received on the website of the National Council. Nevertheless, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that “mandatory vaccination is necessary.” Thus, Austria could become the first country in Europe to implement this measure.
Over the past day, coronavirus was detected in 25,592 residents of Austria. Over the entire period of the pandemic, COVID-19 has been confirmed in more than 1.5 million citizens of the country, of which almost 14,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. According to statistics from the Austrian Ministry of Health, 6.7 million people received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, over 6.3 million received two doses, and 4.2 million received three doses.