Austria to demand Covid-19 vaccination for everyone

Police officers check the immunization status of clients on the first day of a nationwide lockdown for those not yet vaccinated against covid-19 on November 15, 2021 in Innsbruck, Austria.

Police officers check the immunization status of clients on the first day of a nationwide lockdown for those not yet vaccinated against covid-19 on November 15, 2021 in Innsbruck, Austria.
Photo: Jan Hetfleisch (Getty Images)

Several European countries this week introduced new restrictions on people who refuse to be vaccinated against covid-19, and there has even been a Austria’s announcement on Friday that covid-19 vaccinations will become mandatory in February.

The new rules are an effort to get more people vaccinated, as cases of covid-19 rise across much of Europe and the northern hemisphere heads into what could be a very dark winter for people who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Austria, Germany, Greece, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have all put in place new restrictions for unvaccinated people in recent days that bar them from entering many public spaces. And the whole world is watching each country try a slightly different approach to a global problem.


Austria introduced some of the strictest measures for the unvaccinated across Europe last Monday, prohibiting anyone who has not been vaccinated against covid-19 from leaving their homes except for essential services. But Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg took another step in controlling the pandemic on Friday by announcing that vaccination against covid-19 will be mandatory for all adults from February 1.

Austria, which has a total population of around 9 million, has a covid-19 vaccination rate of just 64.8% and the country will enter a nationwide lockdown for everyone from the start. next week in a bid to protect scarce hospital resources, UK says Independent news release.

“Nobody wants confinement. Tconfinement is the very last resort, a crude instrument ”, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said: according to an English translation by the New York Times. “A foreclosure is always an imposition, but it is the most reliable instrument we have to break this fourth wave.”

Austria on Thursday reported 15,145 new cases of covid-19, the highest in the entire pandemic, and 55 new deaths.


Germany announced new restrictions on Thursday, including banning unvaccinated people from virtually all public spaces when a region exceeds a hospitalization rate of three patients per 100,000 population. Twelve of the country’s 16 states are currently experiencing this level of hospitalization, according to France 24.

“With the current momentum, we are facing a very, very difficult situation, especially for all people who work in hospitals and especially in intensive care,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Thursday, adding that the measures would not have been necessary if Germany had a higher vaccination rate.

Germany has struggled with a noisy anti-vaccine minority and only 67.7% of the German population has been vaccinated against covid-19, significantly higher than the United States, but one of the lowest rates among the rich countries. The U.S. vaccination rate against covid-19 currently stands at 59%, while a country like Spain has vaccinated 79.2% of its population.

Germany, a country of 83 million people, reported 58,768 new cases of covid-19 and 207 new deaths on Thursday.


Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday announced new restrictions for unvaccinated people, barring those who refuse to be vaccinated from virtually all indoor spaces, according to the Greek Reporter newspaper. The unvaccinated are now banned from gyms, cinemas and even churches, although worshipers are allowed to test negative for covid-19 if they still want to go to pray without getting vaccinated.

Greece, with a population of just over 10 million, reported 7,276 new cases and 63 new deaths on Thursday. Greece’s covid-19 vaccination rate is only 60.6%.

Czech Republic

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Wednesday announced new restrictions that would ban unvaccinated people from most public spaces, including restaurants and concerts. An exception is made for people who have had covid-19 in the past six months.

The Czech Republic, which has a population of around 11 million, reported 14,186 new cases of covid-19 on Thursday and 60 deaths from the disease. Only 58.2% of the country’s population have been vaccinated against covid-19.


Slovakia introduced new restrictions on the unvaccinated this week, denying them access to most public spaces, as hospitals are overrun with covid-19 patients, new report from Al Jazeera.

Slovakia, which has a population of around 5.5 million, reported 8,756 new cases and 38 deaths from the disease on Thursday. Only 42.7% of the Slovak population is vaccinated against covid-19.

Meanwhile, other European countries like France insist they don’t need to impose new restrictions on the unvaccinated, but that could obviously change if cases continue to worsen across the continent. TThe United States should probably take notes on countries with similarly low vaccination rates as hospitals nationwide are overwhelmed. US cases are on the rise, with 114,361 new cases Thursday alone and 1,213 new deaths from the disease. And many states lack intensive care beds, such as Minnesota where Federal Department of Defense emergency teams are being deployed.

This pandemic will only end when the vast majority of the world is vaccinated. And that won’t happen anytime soon. If you haven’t been vaccinated against covid-19, there is still time and it’s free. Getting vaccinated is literally the least we can do to help get us back to a version of normal that does not include a massive number of deaths each day from a disease that is now completely preventable.

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