The COVID-19 vaccine will never be made mandatory in Austria, according to Social Democratic Party leaderPamela Rendi-Wagner who previously was in favour of making the vaccine mandatory.
The government has “completely failed” on this long-discussed issue, Rendi-Wagner told Austrian TV programme ORF-Pressestunde on Sunday (24 April), adding that it had gambled away the trust needed to make the vaccine compulsory.
Making the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory only for people over 60 is also undesirable, adding that younger people would see this as a signal “that there is no risk for them” that would result in people becoming less willing to take the jab.
However, she added, it is important to motivate as many people as possible to get their first shots before autumn.
Austria suspended the vaccine mandate in March, lifting the fine handed to those who decided to stay unvaccinated.
According to a commission that reviewed the legislation, the mandate was in accordance with the constitution. However, because the commission also found that there was scope to suspend it, Health Minister Johannes Rauch of the Greens decided in favour of the suspension. The commission will reassess the situation at the end of May.