Vaccination obligation: Sputnik vaccine does not apply, many exceptions are defined

This provides for an ordinance from the Ministry of Health on Sunday that is available to the APA. In addition to pregnant women and those who have recovered, the exceptions include transplant and cancer patients as well as people whose health would be endangered by vaccination.

Two Chinese and three Indian vaccines apply

In principle, all persons residing in Austria from the age of 18 are subject to compulsory vaccination. In addition to the vaccines approved by the EU Commission, two Chinese (including Sinovac) and three Indian products are recognized for compliance, but not the Russian Sputnik vaccine.

The obligation to vaccinate has already been met by anyone who has been vaccinated at least three times or who has had two vaccinations after a corona infection (first vaccination up to 180 days after the positive test). Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated must be vaccinated immediately. The second vaccination must be given within 65 days of the first and the third 190 days after the second.

The exceptions

Pregnant women or people whose health could be endangered by the vaccination – such as allergy sufferers with hypersensitivity to individual ingredients or people with an acute flare-up of an inflammatory or autoimmune disease – are not subject to the obligation to vaccinate. Also excluded are people suffering from corona or another acute severe febrile illness or infection, multimorbid people and people who have had serious vaccination side effects.

Exception if no immune response is to be expected

Another exception group concerns people in whom no adequate immune response is to be expected – for example after bone marrow, stem cell or organ transplants, with ongoing cortisone therapy, with immunosuppression or other therapies with certain drugs. This category also includes cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy, biological therapy or radiation therapy in the past six months or who suffer from metastatic carcinoma and people with other serious diseases in a comparable immunological situation. Finally, people who do not develop an adequate immune response even after being vaccinated three times are also exempt.

Confirmations for this may be issued by a technically suitable outpatient clinic (for the patients treated there) as well as the locally responsible public health officer and epidemic doctor. Under certain circumstances, no investigation is necessary at all – for example if the existence of the reason for the exception is “obvious” based on the documents submitted and “there are no reasons that cast doubt on the authenticity of the documents submitted”.

New series of vaccinations when one year has passed since one vaccination

If you have only had one vaccination and it has been more than a year since then, you must start a new series of vaccinations. There are similar regulations for second vaccinations that were given a long time ago. After recovery, one must have a primary vaccination within 180 days of the positive test and a second vaccination within 190 days of the primary vaccination. If there is a temporary reason for exclusion, its duration should not be included in the vaccination intervals.

The ordinance still has to be approved by the Main Committee of the National Council. This meets on Monday.

Penalties from March 16th

The penalty for non-compliance with the vaccination requirement is up to 600 euros in the so-called “simplified procedure” and up to 3,600 euros in the “ordinary procedure”. In the first phase after the entry into force, penalties will not be imposed until mid-March, but only from March 16 (“Phase 2”). In principle, the “simplified procedure” is used for penalties. However, the district administration authorities can (even right from the start) open an orderly procedure. If one raises an objection to a vaccination penalty order (which comes at the end of a simplified procedure) or does not pay, such an ordinary procedure will take place in any case.

In the case of the so-called “control offence” (“phase 2” of compulsory vaccination), which will apply from March 16, all those who cannot produce proof during police checks will be reported to the district administration authorities. If you still do not submit proof, the district administration authorities will notify you. In this case, too, the procedure is simplified.

In “Phase 2” (checks by the police), a maximum of four administrative penal proceedings per calendar year may result in punishment. In “Phase 3” (no start date yet) there will then be an automated data comparison in order to determine who has not been vaccinated. From then on, there may be a maximum of two penalties per calendar year (since the vaccination deadlines relevant to the penalty must be six months apart).

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