Austria Considers €7,200 Fine for the Unvaccinated
December 1, 2021.
Austrian residents who refuse to get their COVID-19 jab from February when they will be mandatory will face fines of up to €7,200, a draft of Austria’s COVID-19 vaccination law reveals.
The mandatory vaccination will apply to all those who have permanent residency in Austria. According to the draft regulation seen by Austrian newspaper die Presse, only those who can’t be vaccinated due to health reasons are exempt.
In the draft, it remains open whether booster vaccinations will also be mandatory or whether the recovered will be treated equally with vaccinated people, which ministerial decrees will further define.
Everybody who refuses to comply will be summoned to the district administration authorities. If they ignore the summons twice, they will be fined €3,600. If their violation of the COVID-vaccination law puts other persons at “serious risk,” or if they continue ignoring the order, they will be fined up to €7,200.
The bill will be presented on 6 December, however, die Presse received the preliminary draft proposal beforehand.
The proposal will be further discussed tomorrow, where health minister Wolfgang Mückstein and minister for the constitution, Karoline Edtstadler, will meet with experts and the opposition to discuss the way ahead.
However, some elements remain unclear, especially if somebody continues to refuse to get vaccinated even after receiving the fines. According to die Presse, one of the solutions discussed is that those who cannot prove they are vaccinated will receive a fine every six months.
Due to the rapid rise in infections, Austria took drastic steps to tackle the fourth COVID wave. The government introduced a fully-fledged lockdown on 22 November, alongside the announcement that vaccinations would become mandatory to prevent the health crisis from spiralling out of control. The situation in Austria has become increasingly severe in recent weeks, with intensive care units close to full capacity.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), 65.2% of Austria’s total population has been vaccinated.
Some states have even prepared for triage, with Salzburg nominating a triage team that will decide who will receive treatment in intensive care units if maximum capacity is reached.
The announcement to make vaccinations mandatory has intensified divides in Austrian society, with President Alexander van der Bellen warning that “there is a great danger that the rifts are getting deeper.“
The populist FPÖ, which had previously lost favour with voters due to a series of corruption scandals, has become increasingly popular among anti-vaxxers. When the government announced its plans, FPÖ party leader Herbert Kickl said that “Austria is a dictatorship from this day on” and called for mass protests to fight the introduction of compulsory vaccination.
© Oliver Noyan / EURACTIV.de
Image - The Independent
Three things strike us over the latest outbreaks of COVID-19, not just in the UK and Europe but elsewhere.
The first of these is that throughout history, viruses, the diseases they cause, the illnesses and potential deaths that can arise and the manner in which viruses mutate is well-known. Given that COVID-19 has been around now for nearly two years, is this not time enough to prepare, to put in place certain measures that can mitigate the effects - and without the arbitrary removal of long-held rights and freedoms?
That governments and health authorities have not, or appear not to have, done so raises questions as to fitness for office.
The second aspect is the reliance on the same methods; lockdowns, face coverings and, after effusive promises that they would solve all problems, vaccines. Yet despite those promises, none have reached the fantasist goal of 'Zero Covid', seemingly so beloved of by politicians.
To repeatedly do the same things over and over again expecting a different result after successive failures is the height of insanity.
The third point is that if governments of previously free countries are not insane and are not incompetent, then what's their game? All of those currently in power rely on being returned to office at their next elections (at both local and national level).
Are they relying on enough people to blindly follow and then, equally blindly, re-elect them? This is what appears to have happened in New Zealand, and to a lesser degree, Canada. Prime Minister Ardern of New Zealand now has another term and although the result in Canada was much closer, it was enough to see Justin Trudeau cling to power - just.
There has however been a more local election much closer to home, in Wales, where Mark Drakeford also gained a win. Trudeau is a Liberal (although interpretation of the word varies as much as viruses do) but both Ardern and Drakeford are left-wing politicians.
What do they want? What is their end-game to COVID-19? The questions raise the spectre of their not being any further elections, all of which will be 'postponed' (not cancelled) for the same reason; 'Your Safety....'.
The left are notorious for their fanatical devotion and in the event of elections actually being held, will turn out and vote. The biggest danger to rights and freedoms comes from those who, while understandably so, do not vote at all - bad governments gain power because of those who do not vote.
That of course, assumes elections are held; the potential for postponement after postponement is a huge concern.