Austria Suspends Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Law

Austria suspended its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all adults, days before it was set to be enforced.

The Austrian government announced on March 9 that they suspended mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for those aged above 18 because the pandemic no longer posed the same danger, following the advice of an expert commission.

“In its report, the Commission states that the implementation of compulsory vaccination is currently not appropriate. We are therefore suspending compulsory vaccination until the next evaluation by the Commission,” Constitutional Affairs Minister Karoline Edtstadler said after a Cabinet meeting.

In recent weeks, the government has dropped most COVID-19 restrictions as hospitals have been able to cope with the surge in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The suspension of the mandate came as Austria recorded 47,057 new COVID-19 cases on March 8.

The government will review the suspension in three months, according to Johannes Rauch, who took over as health minister this week.

Rauch added that the mandate could be reintroduced if a new variant made it necessary.

Austria introduced the mandate on Feb. 16, but pledged not to enforce it for a month. It would had imposed fines of up to €3,600 ($3,980) from mid-March for those who do not comply.

Austria was the first European Union country to adopt the measure.

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