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What happens when I cancel my vaccine appointment in Austria?

There are different rules around cancelling your coronavirus vaccine appointment depending on which Austrian state you are booking in. Here’s what you need to know. 

What happens when I cancel my vaccine appointment in Austria?
Joe Klaram AFP

While millions of Austrians have been waiting for months to get a vaccine appointment, in some cases you may have to cancel. 

Although this may not seem to be a big deal, authorities have been taking steps to tackle the phenomenon of ‘tactical cancellation’ – i.e. where people cancel because they want to get a different vaccine to the one they are allocated. 

Therefore, in some cases people who cancel their appointment will need to go to the back of the queue. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Styria

New rules have been introduced for people who cancel Covid 19 vaccine appointments in Styria, after many people in the state repeatedly cancelled their appointments or did not show up in the hope of being rescheduled with a different choice of vaccine.

Those who cancel or do not show up for vaccine appointments twice in a row will be placed at the back of the queue, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports,

The rule attempts to stop “vaccination tacticians”, or people who cancel their appointment in the hope of getting a different vaccine on the next try.

However, not all other states have followed suit.

EXPLAINED: Can you choose which Covid 19 vaccine to take in Austria?

Carinthia

According to the APA agency in Carinthia, people who do not show up for or cancel two vaccine appointments will be deleted from the system, and will have to register again.

It says often the reason for cancellations or no shows is because many registered people, such as hospital employees, may be called in to use up leftover doses and not need their appointments.

According to a spokesman the system works well in the state and no doses have needed to be thrown away.

However, last week, people who wanted to be vaccinated gathered in large numbers outside the vaccination centres and did not wait to be called for an appointment, according to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper.  

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

Vienna

Vienna does not sanction anyone who repeatedly fails to attend a specific vaccination appointment in Vienna.

However, it has warned against trying to cancel in order to try and get a different vaccine.

The City of Vienna warns “you cannot choose the vaccine”. 

Tyrol 

In Tyrol, even refusing a vaccination appointment several times does not result in any penalties. People who are invited to a vaccination appointment must either accept or decline it.

If the appointment is rejected, the person remains in the system and receives a new vaccination appointment, although this could take longer.

The state told the APA agency that vaccination appointments were mostly kept. Any cancelled appointments are given to another person up to 24 hours before the appointment.

Lower Austria

In Lower Austria, people who have not kept the appointments for the corona vaccination can “simply register again” according to a Lower Austria spokesman.

They told the APA agency it was important to “vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated”. No record of cancellations or rejections of the vaccines are kept by the vaccination centres.

Salzburg

In Salzburg, people who do not attend vaccination appointments are neither blocked nor put to the back back of the queue. At the moment, over 65-year-olds are being vaccinated in Salzburg, but they are not allowed to choose their vaccine. The vaccination appointments are only given if the vaccine is actually available, a few days in advance.

If someone misses the vaccination appointment, the next person on the priority list is informed, working with resident doctors and the Red Cross.

A spokesman said cancelling vaccine appointments was not a “mass phenomenon” in Salzburg, and many people are keen to have the appointment if someone does not want the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Vorarlberg

Anyone who does not attend a vaccination appointment in Vorarlberg, for whatever reason, will be invited back to the next possible appointment.

Sometimes people do not attend appointments because they are only available at very short notice, a press office spokesman told the APA agency.

In the event of a rejection, the next person on the list is contacted, and this has worked well so far with no waste of vaccine, the spokesman reports. 

Upper Austria

State vaccination coordinator Franz Schützeneder told the Krone newspaper anyone who fails to respond to an invitation to a vaccine appointment is deleted from the system and must register again for another vaccination.

The Krone newspaper also reports 5,200 out of the 12,500 teachers and school staff who could have received vaccinations up to April 24th have not signed up for the jab, and theorises this could be because of plans to vaccinate with AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile only around 10 percent of police officers in Upper Austria have been vaccinated.

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VIENNA

Everything that’s new in Vienna in December

From new energy bonuses being sent out to important trials and major events, here are the important changes, dates and events happening in Vienna in December.

Everything that's new in Vienna in December

Vienna will send €200 bonuses to help cushion rising energy costs

The City of Vienna announced more government assistance to cushion rising costs for residents.

Viennese households will receive €200 in a new “energy bonus’, as The Local reported. The administration said the bonus would benefit about two-thirds of all city homes.

Single households with a gross annual income of a maximum €40,000 or multi-person households with an income of up to €100,000 gross per year are entitled to receive the payment. 

In December, every household in the capital should receive an information letter with a password they will need to use for an online application for the bonus. Once applied for, the money should arrive within a few days”.

READ MORE: Vienna Energy Bonus: How to get a €200 payout

Influenza vaccination appointments

The City of Vienna has made available 64,000 influenza vaccination appointments for December in the city’s vaccination centres and those of the ÖGK. 

The City is investing a total of €9.9 million to be able to offer the flu vaccination campaign in Vienna free of charge again this year.  The campaign will run until the end of the year unless an extension becomes necessary due to high demand.

The influenza vaccination campaign focuses on people aged over 65. This avoids multiple exposures to Covid-19 and the “real flu”. Chronically ill people, children and health or care workers are also among the priority target groups. However, influenza vaccination is also recommended to all other people.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How to get a flu vaccination in Austria?

Vienna starts inquiry committee over Wien Energie

Starting on December 2nd at the Vienna City Hall, the City Council’s investigative commission on the Wien Energie case will meet every two weeks.

On the initiative of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), it will investigate the events surrounding the dramatic financial needs of Wien Energie that became known in the summer. The commission can summon people to testify and request documents.

They will focus on two issues.

The first concerns the extent to which Mayor Michael Ludwig and City Finance Councillor Peter Hanke have exercised their ownership rights regarding Wien Energie, which is wholly owned by the city via Wiener Stadtwerke. Specifically, the commission wants to know whether the two SPÖ politicians reacted in time and appropriately to the price increases in the electricity markets in the summer.

The second matter revolves around Ludwig’s emergency powers as head of the city, with which he granted Wien Energie loans totalling €1.4 billion. It is to be clarified whether this procedure was legally compliant and whether Ludwig should have informed committees such as the City Senate earlier.

READ ALSO: Why did Wien Energie ask for €6 billion from the Austrian government?

Terror trial continues

On November 2nd, 2020, a jihadist terrorist shot dead four people and injured more than 20 in the centre of Vienna before police forces killed him.

Now, the country is going through a complex trial involving six men who allegedly helped the shooter prepare for the attack started. The process first started in October, as The Local reported, but a final verdict is not expected until at least February.

In December, tricky trial stages are scheduled, including questioning people suspected of having sold weapons to the terrorist.

READ ALSO: Austria starts trial over Vienna jihadist shooting

Armed police officers stand guard by the area where the terrorist attack took place in Vienna, Austria on November, 2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

This Human World Festival

The This Human World Festival is celebrating its 15th anniversary and it focuses on the theme of human rights. In four Viennese cinemas (Schikaneder, Topkino, Gartenbaukino, Stadtkino) and two other venues (Brunnenpassage, Brotfabrik) you can watch films that deal with human rights, current conflicts and crises from December 1st to 11th. 

About 90 feature films, documentaries and short films await you – some of them will celebrate their Austrian premiere at the festival. 

The aim of the film festival is to draw attention to political and social grievances in a sensitive, stirring and occasionally humorous way.

You can read more about the event HERE.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

“Harry Potter: The Exhibition” is touring worldwide and the major exhibition about the wizard’s universe will get its first European location in Vienna on December 16th, 2022. The show will be housed in the METAStadt in the 22nd district (Dr.-Otto-Neurath-Gasse 3).

The ticket sale has already started on the official site of the exhibition and via oeticket. Tickets are available from € 24.90 for children (up to 12 years) and € 29.90 for adults (from 13 years).

Weihnachtsmärkte

Last year, many markets around the country were cancelled after a snap lockdown in November, although some events still went ahead with strict rules in place.

But this year, the Christmas markets are back in full swing without restrictions, so make sure you visit one (or two) to really get into the Christmas spirit. Austria’s most famous markets are in Vienna, like the Christkindmarkt in front of the Town Hall that runs from November 19th to December 26th.

The Viennese markets are drawing in thousands of tourists to the Austrian capital. Don’t miss out on all the Glüwein (even if it is more expensive this year), geröstete Kastanien and Weihnachtskugeln you can get. 

FOR MEMBERS: IN PICTURES: A guide to the main Christmas markets in Austria

Public holidays

Besides Christmas (December 25th) and Stephan’s Day (December 26th), December 8th, when Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Mariä Empfängnis), is also a public holiday in Austria.

Of course, there are also several celebratory dates in December. For example, every Sunday until Christmas is an Advent Sunday, and Austrian families commemorate it in many ways, including lighting up candles.

On December 4th, there is Barbaratag, while on December 5th, Krampus pays his visit to Austrian villages and cities. On the next day, December 6th, it’s time for St Nikolaus to bring chocolate and tangerines to children who were nice during the year.

Christmas Eve, Day, and St Stephen’s Day (December 24th, 25th and 26th) are important dates for Austrian traditions.

It’s also worth noting that Austrians celebrate Christmas on the evening of December 24th, usually with a family meal.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

New Year celebrations

Expect lots of fireworks on New Year’s Eve (Silvester) in Austria – and especially in Vienna.

In the capital, the bells ring out at St. Stephan’s Cathedral to welcome in the New Year, which is also broadcast on national television. This is followed by fireworks and some even take part in a communal waltz on Rathausplatz in front of the Town Hall.

But if you really want to celebrate New Year like an Austrian, then give a marzipan pig to your nearest and dearest. The little pigs represent a good luck charm and are handed out every year on New Year’s Eve.

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