Austria abolishes compulsory COVID-19 vaccination, the measure was suspended in March

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Austria is dropping mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for adults, saying the measure, which has been suspended since March, is unlikely to raise one of Western Europe’s lowest vaccination rates, Health Minister Johannes Rauch said on Thursday.

“The vaccine mandate will not get anyone vaccinated. Studies have shown that 13% of people living in Austria will not be vaccinated despite the vaccine mandate,” Rauch of the Greens said at a news conference.

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A vial of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in Portland, Oregon, December 27, 2021.

A vial of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in Portland, Oregon, December 27, 2021.
(AP Photo / Jenny Kane)

The rule – the only such comprehensive mandate in the EU – made vaccines mandatory for all adults with few exceptions.

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A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Vienna, Austria, November 23, 2021.

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Vienna, Austria, November 23, 2021.
(AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda, File)

There was no penalty for non-compliance when the measure was introduced in February, but the government suspended the mandate in March, six days before fines were to begin to be imposed.

A COVID-19 vaccination card will be displayed at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California, on December 24, 2020. (AP Photo / Jeff Chiu, File)

A COVID-19 vaccination card will be displayed at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California, on December 24, 2020. (AP Photo / Jeff Chiu, File)

The government said at the time that there was less strain on hospitals as the symptoms from the new omicron variant were often less severe, making mandatory vaccination disproportionate.

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