Austria is expected to announce the mandatory coronavirus vaccination for people over the age of 14 and a fine of more than 3,000 euros, but not imprisonment, shortly afterwards, according to officials.
Health Minister Wolfgang Mikstein and Constitutional Affairs Minister Carolyn Antstadler said this week that the details were subject to change following talks with experts and opposition parties. However, the Guardian notes, in today’s announcement it is unlikely that major changes will be made.
Following the inauguration of Conservative Chancellor Carl Nehammer on Monday, Mikstein and Edstadler reiterated that there would be no prison sentences for those who still refuse to be vaccinated even when it becomes mandatory in February.
In a televised interview with national broadcaster ORF on Tuesday, Edstadler did not confirm Austrian media reports that the minimum age would be 14, but said the government had received legal advice that it would be difficult to set an age lower than her, adding that children under 14 would be excluded.
“We have set a maximum fine of 3,600 euros, but I emphasize again that we are still in discussions with experts because of course the fine should be dissuasive, but it should not be so dissuasive that we create more resistance,” he stressed.
And while some countries have introduced compulsory vaccination for sections of their population – such as healthcare workers, Austria is the first European Union member state to introduce compulsory vaccination for almost the entire population. Of course, there will be exceptions for certain categories of people, such as pregnant women, Edstadler said.
The press conference for the announcement of the measures will take place at one (Austrian time) today.