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COVID-19 VACCINES

Several Austrian states open Covid vaccinations without appointments

After successful campaigns in Vienna and Tyrol, several other Austrian states are bringing in vaccinations without appointments.

Several Austrian states open Covid vaccinations without appointments
Covid-19 vaccinations are now available without an appointment in several Austrian states. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

In early July, the Austrian states of Vienna and Tyrol implemented a no-appointment vaccination scheme. 

With take up high, several other Austrian states have decided to follow suit. 

Here’s how you can get a vaccination without an appointment in your Austrian state. 

Vienna

On Monday, July 5th, Vienna introduced vaccinations without appointments at the Austria Centre. The program runs until July 11th and uses the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Only people over 18 may attend. 

Vaccinations without appointments are also available at Vienna’s Rathausplatz from 5pm to 10pm each evening. The program started on July 3rd and will run until September 4th. 

For everyone over 18, the Johnson& Johnson vaccine is administered. For those under 18, the Biontech/Pfizer jab is on offer – with the second to take place at the Austria Centre in Vienna. 

Tyrol

On July 4th, Tyrol hosted “Vaccination Sunday”, where inoculations took place without appointments in every one of the state’s vaccination centres. 

Austria’s Kurier newspaper reported the day was a success, with 13,000 of the 16,000 available doses administered. 

The event is set to be repeated this coming weekend (July 10th and 11th), while authorities have said they hope to continue it for the foreseeable future, broadcaster ORF reports.

The government said that plans were being made for this. In the meantime, the locations of the vaccination centres are being evaluated, some are to be merged or only opened when necessary.

Styria 

Styria is set to launch several no appointment “vaccination days” in shopping centres across the state. From mid August, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be available without an appointment at Murpark, the Citypark in Graz and the LCS in Leoben shopping centres. 

From July 17th, there will be spots available at vaccination centres in Graz, Bruck / Mur, Premstätten and Gleisdorf with the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Upper Austria

From July 7th, a no appointment vaccination scheme will be set up at the Passage Centre in Linz. The opening times are Wednesday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is administered. 

Residents of Neumarkt im Mühlkreis will also be able to get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at two taverns in Dingdorf and Trosseldorf from July 7th, and from Friday July 9th at Schinko GmbH. 

People wanting a vaccine must bring their ID, their vaccination card and their e-card. 

Salzburg

Salzburg will set up a no appointment vaccination scheme, most likely in the Kongresszentrum in the city centre from July 12th, Kurier reports. 

The specifics of the centre, including where it will be, how many vaccinations it will carry out and its opening hours are to be determined in the coming days. 

The vaccine from Johnson and Johnson is set to be used.

Vorarlberg

On Saturday, July 3rd, Vorarlberg released 500 no appointment vaccination spots which took place on the same day. 

Demand exceeded supply, with 750 people signing up. Vorarlberg is now considering whether to do the same or similar for the rest of July, after which vaccinations are set to take place in GP offices rather than vaccination centres. 

Lower Austria

According to Austria’s Kurier newspaper, officials in Lower Austria view the developments positively and are looking at rolling out a no appointment scheme with a low threshold of offers to gauge public interest in the idea. 

As yet however specifics of the plan have not been released. 

Burgenland and Carinthia

Burgenland has indicated it will not offer vaccinations without appointments, while Carinthia has also ruled out a similar scheme at present. 

Gerd Kurath, a spokesperson for the state, told Kurier “We are constantly evaluating our vaccination concept. A vaccination campaign without registration is currently not ready to go in Carinthia.”

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Austria announces it will scrap mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law

Austria's federal government on Thursday announced it would scrap its controversial mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law.

Austria announces it will scrap mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law

Austria will cancel its mandatory Covid-19 vaccination law, the federal government announced during a press conference on Thursday.

The controversial law had been suspended until August after coronavirus infection rates slowed. However, it hadn’t been abolished.

The government could still bring back a set of regulations allowing police to check people’s vaccinated status. Those that could not prove they were either vaccinated, or recently recovered from the disease, would have to pay a fine.

“The omicron variant changed the situation”, health minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

He added that the law was introduced in a different context and was supported by “a clear majority” at the time when hospitals were full and “intensive care units were on the limit”.

The minister said that the new variant has reduced the effectiveness of vaccination against infections and has caused less severe courses of the disease.

“Even people who are willing to vaccinate in principle are now more difficult to convince of the need for a third dose”.

Rauch said the obligation to vaccinate did not increase the take up of the Covid jab. Instead, it “opened deep trenches in Austrian society”, according to the minister.

The controversial law provoked numerous street protests throughout Austria after it was announced.

The minister said that the obligation itself even made some give up on their intent to get the jab.

Living with Covid

The new variants bring a new scenario to Austria and people will need to learn to coexist with the virus, according to the health minister.

“Living with Covid means that we will bring forward a comprehensive package of measures, and today that means the abolition of compulsory vaccination,” Rauch said.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

The minister reiterated that vaccination is essential, especially as it helps prevent hospitalisations and more severe disease courses. He added that there should be an extensive vaccination campaign before Autumn and an expected winter Covid-19 wave.

Currently, about 62 percent of the Austrian population has a valid vaccination certificate. However, the number has decreased as people fail to schedule booster, or a third-dose, appointments.

The ins and outs of the vaccine mandate

The law was first introduced in February, even though the technical requirements for it to be enacted were not in place. The first stage was purely “informational”, and Austrian residents received letters explaining vaccines and the regulation.

A second stage, when people could have been fined if not vaccinated, was set to start in mid-March. Before a single person was fined, though, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) suspended the law with an ordinance.

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