Austria suspends coronavirus vaccine authorization – POLITICO

On Wednesday, the government said Austria was suspending its mandate for a coronavirus vaccine, effectively waiving a general requirement for adults to fight COVID-19 before enforcement begins.

The Alpine country became the first Western democracy to decide to make vaccinations mandatory during a record outbreak of infections last November. No European country has come this far, although Italy requires people over the age of 50 to be vaccinated.

The decision to impose the mandate came amid political turmoil, and the ensuing controversy resulted in the eventual adoption of a clumsy combination of carrot and stick. The vaccine regulation went into effect a month ago but the €3,600 fine for non-compliance only came into force in mid-March – and has never actually been applied.

The Government has accepted the advice of an expert committee to suspend the vaccination mandate and will review the situation in three months, Die Presse quoted Constitutional Affairs Minister Karoline Edtstadler as saying.

The vaccine mandate has caused great controversy in Austria, with leading far-right protests against the government’s management of the pandemic. Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein resigned last week after 11 months in the job saying he was the target of death threats.

Mückstein’s successor, Johannes Rauch, is only on his second day on the job: “I know this pandemic is worrying everyone, in Austria and around the world,” he said. “But vaccination is an effective way to combat it and we will continue on this path.”

Austria, with a population of nearly 9 million, has report a total of 3 million COVID cases and 14,500 deaths. Its Immunization records in line with the European average, with 72 percent of the population fully vaccinated. Austria suspends coronavirus vaccine authorization - POLITICO

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