Austria considers travel privileges for vaccinated people

In order to revive the flagging tourism industry, Austria has suggested flights could be restricted to tested and vaccinated people.

Austria considers travel privileges for vaccinated people
Austrian planes at Vienna Airport. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Austrian State Secretary Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) said on Tuesday that the government’s current policy of flight bans and restrictions needed to change. 

Brunner, whose department is responsible for aviation policy, said Austria should adopt a “double strategy” which requires people to either show evidence of a vaccination or to complete a negative test before leaving the country of departure. 

“I am convinced that vaccination can replace quarantine,” Brunner told Fellner Live

“Travelling and flying would then again be possible throughout Europe.

“It's a way of getting to the holiday destination safely and healthily.”

UPDATED: Everyone crossing Austria's border now required to register 

Brunner called for a solution at European level, saying “it makes no sense, especially in aviation” for Austria to go it alone. 

Austria has already started rolling out testing infrastructure at Vienna Airport. 

Austrian constitutional lawyer Peter Bußjäger said such a plan would be legally permissible, while suggesting that those who have fallen ill and recovered from the virus may also be entitled to similar privileges. 

“As soon as it is clear that the disease can no longer be passed on, it is clear that I can no longer subject these people to restrictions,” Bußjäger told Der Standard

“If the government opens the door for those who have been tested and those who have recovered, then it would also have to do the same for those who have been vaccinated.”

Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober has already ruled out allowing for vaccinated people to have special privileges, although legal experts say that this only applies to the public sector. 

Private sector businesses – including airlines – would have legal standing to restrict tickets to certain classes of passengers. 



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EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

Austria's capital city Vienna has begun registration appointments for those who want to get a monkeypox vaccine. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

As of September 9th, people can make reservations for monkeypox vaccination in Vienna, authorities announced. It is possible to register for the vaccine using the health service line by calling 1450 or via the Impfservice website.

The City of Vienna has said the pre-registration is needed because all planning will be done through a central system due to a shortage of vaccines.

“Please understand that due to the vaccine shortage, we cannot offer preventive monkeypox vaccination to everyone interested. We can use the reservation platform to quickly allocate available appointments and contact interested parties as soon as there are more vaccines”, the authorities said.

After the registration, people will be contacted to book appointments on September 14th. The first available date will be September 19th.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox in Austria: What causes it and is it serious?

Who should be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Vaccination of the general population is currently not recommended.

Preventive vaccination is only offered to health care workers with a very high risk of exposure to people with monkeypox (designated monkeypox departments/outpatient clinics/offices) and persons with individual risk behaviour (persons with frequently changing sexual contacts), the City of Vienna said.

The health authorities in Vienna also have a specific information sheet in English with more information on the disease.

Monkeypox is a notifiable disease caused by a virus closely related to the smallpox virus and which can cause a condition similar to smallpox but rarely deadly. People with immunodeficiencies, pregnant women and children are at risk of more severe symptoms.

The virus spreads from person to person through contact with infectious skin lesions, via air droplets through speaking, coughing, sneezing, or other body fluids, and when having prolonged and close physical contact, e.g. through sexual intercourse.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Usually, the first symptoms show up 5 to 14 days (at the latest, 21 days) after exposure. These include fever, general exhaustion, headaches, muscle and body aches, gastrointestinal problems and frequently painfully swollen lymph nodes.

“If you have symptoms and have had contact with someone with monkeypox, you must self-isolate at once and call 1450. If you have a confirmed monkeypox infection, you need to stay in self-isolation until the last crust has fallen off”, the Austrian authorities added.