SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19 VACCINES

Immunity: How long are vaccinations valid for in Austria?

Austria’s rules for immunity from vaccination and recovery differ from most European countries. Here’s what you need to know.

Immunity: How long are vaccinations valid for in Austria?
How long are vaccinations valid for in Austria? Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

One aspect of the science which is as yet unclear about Covid vaccines is how long the immunity lasts. 

While each of the vaccines that is being administered in Austria has been shown to be highly effective against both the original incarnation of the virus and subsequent mutations, experts are uncertain as to the duration of immunity – primarily because not enough time has passed to see just how long the antibodies last. 

Austria has taken a relatively novel approach with regard to immunity from both vaccines and recovery. 

In addition to those who test negative, those who have recovered from the virus and who have been vaccinated are deemed ‘immune’ and are therefore allowed certain privileges such as visiting restaurants and travelling internationally. 

The duration of this immunity as per Austrian regulations is laid out below. 

Immunity via recovery

Unlike many other European countries, Austria lets you take an antibody test to determine if you are immune to the virus. 

If you take an antibody test which shows you have immunity to the virus, that will be valid for three months from the date of the test. 

EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s Covid-19 immunity card and how do I get it?

If you have a medical certificate from the time you were diagnosed with Covid-19, then this will be valid for six months. 

If you have recovered from the virus and have also had one vaccination, your immunity is deemed to last until 270 days (or approximately nine months) after your shot. 

Immunity via vaccination

Obviously the best way to guarantee immunity to the virus is through vaccination. 

Here Austria also charts a relatively novel course again by allowing immunity after your first vaccine. Please note, this is set to change as of August 15th, where you will require two shots in order to be considered immune. 

Most European countries only allow this a few weeks after your second jab. 

In Austria, you are deemed to have immunity 22 days after your first shot of any type of the vaccine. In the case of Johnson and Johnson, which is a one-shot vaccine, you get immunity 22 days after your only shot. 

If this is a two-shot vaccine – i.e. Moderna, Biontech/Pfizer and AstraZeneca – you will be deemed to have immunity for 90 days after your first shot. 

READ MORE: Austria’s ban on British arrivals extended until September

This usually will not be a problem as the recommended time between doses is less than 90 days for all of these vaccines. 

After your second shot, the immunity is deemed to last 270 days, or approximately nine months. 

In the case of Johnson and Johnson, the 270-day period applies after the first (and therefore only) shot. 

If you have recovered from the virus and have also had one vaccination, your immunity is deemed to last until 270 days (or approximately nine months) after your shot. 

This is slightly shorter than in other countries, such as neighbouring Switzerland, where the immunity is deemed to last for a year. 

More information about the specifics of immunity in Austria can be found at the following official government link (in German). 

Which vaccines are accepted in Austria? 

You must have been vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine or one approved from the WHO.

The WHO approval requirement is also relatively rare in Europe, as it means vaccines from more manufacturers are accepted. This includes: 

Comirnaty (BioNtech/Pfizer), Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca, and Covishield from Serum Institute of India COVID-19, Vaccine Janssen from Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Moderna, Sinopharm SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated (InCoV) and Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine, SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated. 

Member comments

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

COVID-19 VACCINES

In which jobs are vaccinations mandatory in Austria?

Vaccinations remain voluntary in Austria, but are mandatory in some professions. Here’s what you need to know.

In which jobs are vaccinations mandatory in Austria?
Photo: MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The Austrian government has repeatedly reiterated that the coronavirus vaccine would not be made compulsory.

That said, certain professions – particularly those where a greater risk is posed to vulnerable people – have required that employees be vaccinated. 

‘Education, not obligation’: How Austria plans to tackle vaccine sceptics

Can you be forced to be vaccinated? 

Generally speaking, only new hires can be forced to be vaccinated – i.e. an employer can mandate that all job vacancies are only filled by people who have been fully vaccinated. 

This is nothing new in Austria. In Vienna for instance, staff in the health sector have been required to be vaccinated against diphtheria, measles, tetanus, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B since 2017. 

Legal experts however believe that while an employer cannot force you to be vaccinated, they can fire you if you refuse as a “last resort”. 

The reason for this is that employers owe a duty of care to their staff and to customers. 

If a member of staff is refusing to get vaccinated, they are putting other staff and customers at risk – which could have legal repercussions for the company.

However, an employer will need to have exhausted all other avenues before terminating someone for not getting vaccinated. 

Reader question: Can I be fired for refusing to get vaccinated in Austria?

Which industries require vaccination against Covid?

In Vienna, all new health and social workers must be vaccinated against Covid. 

The same is true for health workers and some childcare workers in Burgenland, Lower Austria, and Styria. 

SHOW COMMENTS