Will Austria really be able to vaccinate one million people by Easter?

Austria has pledged to vaccinate one million people - meaning two million doses - by Easter. Is this target realistic?

Will Austria really be able to vaccinate one million people by Easter?
Austrian health minister Rudolph Anschober JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Health Minister Rudolph Anschober has said he wants to achieve two million vaccinations against the coronavirus by the beginning of April, meaning one million Austrians would be fully vaccinated with two doses.

The ambitious target will mean Austria will have to more than double the pace at which it vaccinates its citizens.

UPDATED: How can I get vaccinated for Covid-19 in Austria?

Last week, the alpine state managed more than 100,000 vaccinations in one week for the first time. 

How many vaccinations have been given so far?

As of Wednesday 17th February, Austria’s Corona vaccination dashboard shows 418,055 jabs have been given in total, with around 15,000 vaccinations in the last 24 hours.

How many will be needed to meet the target? 

To reach two million vaccinations by April, the state will have to give around 250,000 vaccinations per week for the next six weeks, or just under 36,000 vaccines per day. 

Is this target realistic?

In the UK, which has a population seven times that of Austria, more than three million vaccines a week, (around 435,000 vaccines a day) are currently being administered, showing Austria’s target can theoretically be achieved. 

A patient receives a Moderna vaccine in Berlin Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP

How many vaccines will be delivered by then? 

By the beginning of April 1.25 million doses from BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna should be delivered  along with 740,000 doses from AstraZeneca.

How does Austria compare to other EU countries?

Austria is currently low on the list of European countries in terms of the speed of its vaccination rollout. For example, Denmark has a smaller population (six million to Austria’s nine million), but has managed to vaccinate almost exactly the same number of people. 

What new steps are being taken?

On Wednesday 17th February Vienna announced it would open two new vaccination centres as it begins vaccinating seniors aged over 80 years of age, high-risk groups and people who are exposed to the virus at work.

The corona vaccination centes are located at Gasgasse 7-9 in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus and on Schrödingerplatz in Danube City. 

And Austria now has an excellent test infrastructure, which will hopefully help keep infections down until immunisation is possible. A million tests per week are currently being carried out.


Member comments

  1. I’m in a high risk group, over 65 with severe heart problems, sadly. Nothing heard from anyone and my Dr. has no clue. What is Austria doing? 100,000 jabs in a week when UK is doing 500,000 a DAY.

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Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Austrians expressed shock and anger this week over the suicide of doctor who had been the target of a torrent of abuse and threats from anti-vaccination protesters.

Austria in shock over doctor's suicide following anti-vax abuse

The bells of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral rang out in memory of Lisa-Maria Kellermayr on Monday, and hundreds of people held a candle vigil outside, after the 36-year-old doctor was found dead at her practice on July 29.

She had long been the target of death threats because of her criticism of the widespread anti-lockdown protests of 2021.

An autopsy later confirmed that Kellermayr had taken her own life.

Austria has found itself deeply polarised over coronavirus restrictions and in particular a government policy –subsequently dropped — of making vaccination against the coronavirus compulsory.

Kellermayr — whose practice was in the region of Upper Austria where immunisation rates are particularly low — had frequently complained of the menace.

“For more than seven months, we have been receiving… death threats from those opposed to coronavirus measures and vaccinations,” she wrote at the time, sharing a message from one internet user who said they would pose as a patient in order to attack her and her staff.

She described how she had “invested more than 100,000 euros” ($102,000) in measures to ensure her patients’ safety and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Then, at the end of June, Kellermayr announced on her professional website that she would not be seeing patients until further notice.

Daniel Landau, who organised a memorial vigil for her in Vienna, said that Kellermayr had become a virtual recluse for several weeks. “She didn’t dare to leave” her office, Landau told AFP.

Fanning the aggression

On Saturday, the head of Austria’s doctors’ association, Johannes Steinhart, said that while aggressive behaviour towards medical staff was not new, it had been “fired up and noticeably aggravated” by the debate over Covid-19 and vaccines.

The police, who had previously suggested Kellermayr was exploiting the situation for attention, insist they did everything to protect her. The local prosecutor’s office also rejected suggestions it could have done more.

“As soon as we received the police report (identifying one of the suspects), we sent it over to the relevant authorities in Germany,” spokesman Christoph Weber said.

On Friday, prosecutors in the neighbouring German state of Bavaria said a 59-year-old suspect was being investigated by a specialist hate speech unit.

At the beginning of the week, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen visited the small town of Seewalchen where Kellermayr lived to lay flowers in her memory.

After news of her death broke, he had appealed to Austrians to “put an end to intimidation and fear”.

‘They’re gagging us’

But on some Telegram groups, the hateful messages continue.

“Some people are celebrating her death; others believe the vaccine killed her,” said Ingrid Brodnig, a journalist and author who investigates online disinformation.

“Stricts laws exist” already against online hate, but not enough is done to implement them, Brodnig said.

One government minister has floated the idea of a separate prosecutor’s office to target such cases. Doctors and researchers have also been targeted elsewhere.

French infectious disease specialist, Karine Lacombe, described how she had been vilified for her work as part of a collective of doctors combatting coronavirus-related disinformation.

She, too, complained that the response from the authorities in the face of threats was not robust enough, and has scaled down her public appearances this year.

“You end up thinking that the risk isn’t worth it,” she told AFP. “In that sense (the aggressors) have won, they are gagging us,” she said.