Austrian states start vaccinations for under 65s

Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Burgenland have completed vaccination of two thirds of over 65s and can now move on to younger age groups. 

A person entering a vaccination centre in Austria

The federal states of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Burgenland have entered ‘Phase 3’ of the vaccination campaign, meaning they have begun to vaccinate the under 65s.

So far, authorities in these states have managed to immunise more than two thirds of older age groups.

In Vorarlberg, 69 percent of the over-65s have already been vaccinated, in Tyrol it is 65 percent and in Burgenland 63 percent, the Kurier newspaper reports. 

Two million first vaccinations by early next week

A total of around two million first vaccinations will have been administered by the beginning of next week, the Chancellery reports according to the APA agency. 

In a statement, Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: “This is good news and we are progressing better than expected.”

How many people has Austria vaccinated? 

Phase One

  • People aged over 80 
  • Personnel in and residents of old people’s and nursing homes 
  • Healthcare personnel with a particularly high risk of infection or with close contact with groups requiring special protection

Over 74 percent of over 80 year olds in Austria have now been vaccinated.

Phase Two

  • People aged over 65
  • Health care workers with a high risk of infection, including mobile care workers.
  • People with disabilities and their personal assistants
  • High-risk patients
  • Close contacts of pregnant women
  • Staff in schools, kindergartens and childcare facilities
  • Selected employees in the penal system, police and armed forces

Around 55 percent of over 65s have now been vaccinated across Austria. 

Phase Three

  • The total population under 65 will be vaccinated, prioritised by age and health risks
  • Occupational vaccination

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Will Austria start vaccinating children against Covid?

The European Medicine Agency (EMA) is expected to approve the Biontech and Pfizer vaccine for everyone over 12 years old on Friday, but it will be up to individual European states such as Austria to decide if they wish to start vaccinating children. 

Children in the US are already receiving vaccinations against the coronavirus (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)
Children in the US are already receiving vaccinations against the coronavirus (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

Austria’s Ministry of Health has advised that children should be vaccinated once the EMA approves the vaccine, with the country’s health minister Wolfgang Mückstein telling Der Standard newspaper, that if the vaccine was approved by the EMA, it meant it was “highly effective and safe”.

“I would also vaccinate my daughters with it,” he is reported to have said.

He also announced on Friday he wanted to vaccinated the largest possible number of children aged between twelve and 16 by the end of August.

Pediatrician Albrecht Prieler, who is a member of Austria’s National Vaccination Committee (NIG) said it was important children should be protected with a Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible. He said even if if Covid-19 was usually milder in children, there was still a “residual risk” of a severe course, adding without vaccinating children it will “never be possible” to achieve herd immunity, according to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper.

Vaccine hesitancy may affect rollout

This would mean an additional 340,000 young people could be eligible for vaccination in Austria. But how easy will it be to persuade this group and their parents, that vaccination is the best option?

One stumbling block to vaccinating most children aged over 12 may be vaccine scepticism amount the Austrian population. While a recent survey by the University of Vienna found that the willingness to vaccinate had increased during 2021, Der Standard newspaper noted Austrians are not the biggest advocates of vaccinations, especially when it comes to children. 

More concerns over vaccines for children in Austria

The Wellcome Global Monitor study in 2018 showed Austrians often rejected statements such as “vaccinations for children are safe” (rejection rate 22 percent) or “it is important that children are vaccinated” (rejection rate 12 percent).

In neighbouring Germany,  Health Minister Jens Spahn has stated that he intends to offer vaccines to younger children.

Vienna already allows children aged 12 and over to register for a coronavirus vaccination. In the capital vaccinations are expected to start for children in June. In Styria, vaccinations for this group will be offered in July and August, supplies permitting. Tyrol and Vorarlberg have also pledged to vaccinate children at some point “during the summer”