AUSTRIA will impose criminal fines of up to £12,000 a year if they refuse the Covid vaccination.
The move comes amid a shift across much of Europe towards increasingly harsh measures to crack down on vaccine hesitancy amid fears Omicron patients will overwhelm hospitals.
Austria’s conservative-led government plan to make coronavirus vaccines compulsory[/caption]
Under Austria’s plans to make injections against coronavirus compulsory from February onwards.
It comes as Europe’s coronavirus death toll could soar by another 700,000 this winter, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.
Austria’s conservative-led government today gave details of its plan to make coronavirus vaccines compulsory, saying it will apply to people 14 and over and holdouts face fines of up to £3,000 every three months.
Roughly 68 per cent of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, one of the lowest rates in western Europe.
Many Austrians are sceptical about vaccines, a view encouraged by the far-right Freedom Party, the third biggest in parliament.
As infections set records three weeks ago, the government announced a fourth national lockdown and said it would make vaccinations compulsory for all, the first European Union country to do so.
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Minister for constitutional affairs Karoline Edtstadler said: “We do not want to punish people who are not vaccinated. We want to win them over and convince them to get vaccinated.”
The vaccine mandate, which must be approved by parliament, is due to start in February and last through January 2024.
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Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said: “There will be quarterly vaccination deadlines.
“If that is not the case, proceedings will be brought. In regular proceedings, the amount of the fine is 3,600 euros (£3,000).
“As an alternative, the authorities have the option to impose a fine in shorter proceedings immediately after the vaccination deadline. Here the amount of the fine is 600 euros.”
There will be exemptions for pregnant women and people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, he added.
Meanwhile, Germany is set to ban people who are not fully jabbed from shops, pubs and restaurants in what has been dubbed as a “lockdown for the unvaccinated”.