Austria Scraps Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate Law

The Austrian government has scrapped a law that would force residents of the country to be fully vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus, with the country’s Health Minister arguing the omicron variant has “changed the rules.”

Health Minister of Austria Johannes Rauch of the Green Party and Austrian People’s Party club leader August Wöginger announced that the law would be scrapped as it was not effective in getting more people vaccinated and the omicron variant has led to milder cases of the virus.

“Omicron has changed the rules,” Rauch said and added, “the Corona vaccination obligation does not bring anyone to get vaccinated,” and argued that even if people were punished for being unvaccinated it did not have any impact on overall vaccination numbers, which had remained the same, Kronen Zeitung reports.

Minister Rauch also stated that the mandatory vaccination law had opened “deep rifts” among the general public and Austrian society. He added that Austria has gone from “disaster mode” to being able to live with the virus but noted testing and wearing masks were still important.

On Thursday, the leader of the populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) Herbert Kickl welcomed the removal of the vaccine obligation but went on to call for the Covid-19 measures act to be scrapped as well.

“The Minister of Health can use regulations at any time to reinstate measures such as 2G access regulations, lockdowns for the unvaccinated and thus the exclusion of unvaccinated people from public life,” Kickl warned.

Phillip Kucher, the health spokesman for the Social Democrats, was less pleased with the scrapping of the vaccine mandate, arguing that getting rid of the mandate was a “temporary culmination of government failure,” and requested a justification from the government for the move.

The Austrian government enacted the mandatory vaccine policy for all residents over the age of 18 in February after the Austrian parliament passed legislation in January.

Under the law, police would have been allowed to demand proof of vaccination during traffic stops and elsewhere, fining unvaccinated people up to 600 euros, although fines for people who contested their initial fine could reach 3,600 euros.

The measure was later suspended in March before any enforcement of the law started as Austria eased its various coronavirus restrictions.

Reporting by Breitbart News.