Austria Locking Down, Imposing Vaccine Mandate

Austria needs more of its citizens vaccinated.

Austria needs more of its citizens vaccinated.

Among the countries of the European Union, Austria has one of the lower rates of vaccination against COVID-19. Currently, about two-thirds of the total population of Austria have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The vaccines have been met with skepticism from many Austrian citizens, due in part to the influence of the far-right-leaning Freedom Party, which is in the middle of planning a protest against COVID restrictions.

COVID cases are on the rise in Austria, recently prompting the country to impose a partial lockdown on those who are not fully vaccinated, but it has been decided this was not enough. As such, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced today that starting on Monday, the entirety of Austria will be undergoing a complete lockdown. Additionally, a vaccine mandate will be going into effect starting on February 2, making COVID vaccinations compulsory.

“We have not succeeded in convincing enough people to get vaccinated,” Schallenberg said at a news conference. “It hurts that such measures still have to be taken.”

Schallenberg has previously stated his opposition to such intense mandates, especially given how unpopular lockdowns are, but he believes this is necessary to ensure a safe holiday season. “Too many among us have not shown enough solidarity. I ask you all to help. Take part, support these measures, let us try to reduce our social contacts for a maximum of 20 days so that the Christmas holidays are protected,” Schallenberg said.

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