The upper house of the Austrian parliament approved its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Thursday, paving the way for making coronavirus vaccines compulsory for adults.
“Today is an important day,” Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said during the parliamentary debate. With the vaccine mandate, Mueckstein said, Austria “isn’t simply reacting, but we are taking a forward-looking and active step.”
The chamber voted overwhelmingly in favor of the mandate, 47 to 12, following a vote in the lower chamber of parliament on January 20.
The bill would now go through the office of president Alexander van der Bellen for signing.
According to reports, once the mandate goes into effect, authorities would write to every household to inform them of the new rules before the police would start checking people’s vaccination status during routine checks from mid-March.
The news came just as Austria plans to loosen many of its pandemic-related restrictions in February, easing firstly, restrictions on unvaccinated people entering shops, restaurants, and other areas of public life from which they’ve been effectively barred since November.
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