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Austrian parliament okays COVID vaccine mandate for all adults

A view of the Austrian parliament in Vienna, on January 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)
A view of the Austrian parliament in Vienna, on January 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

VIENNA — Austria’s parliament has voted to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults from February 1, the first of its kind in Europe.

Lawmakers vote 137 to 33 this evening to approve the mandate, which will apply to all residents of Austria aged 18 and over. Exempted from the mandate are pregnant women, individuals who for medical reasons can’t be vaccinated, and people who have recovered from a coronavirus infection in the past six months.

Officials say the mandate is necessary because vaccination rates remain too low in the small Alpine country.

Chancellor Karl Nehammer’s governing coalition worked with two of the three opposition parties in parliament on the plan to implement the mandate. It calls for the vaccine mandate to go into effect at the beginning of February, but enforcement will start in mid-March.

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