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COVID-19 HEALTH PASS

Will Austria require the Covid green pass in workplaces? 

Workplaces in Austria could soon be restricted to those vaccinated, recovered from the virus or who have tested negative.

Will Austria require the Covid green pass in workplaces? 
Should workplaces such as offices, hospitality and construction sites in Austria be subject to the 3G rule? Photo by Maxime on Unsplash

Austria is considering expanding the 3G rule further.

According to the plan, the 3G rule could be required at work, in which people will have to show they have been vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or present a recent negative Covid-19 test in the workplace.

This requirement will soon be in place in neighbouring Italy, while other countries have brought it in place in specific industries. 

Broadcaster ORF reports the Ministry of Health is “quite open” to this measure in order to increase the vaccination rate, and relieve the intensive care units.

The trade union (ÖGB) also confirmed this measure was under discussion in the daily newspaper “Osterreich 24”, and said there were talks at the social partner level.

An ÖGB spokeswoman said she was “positive about this project,” and added it would mean a “3-G” certificate for work in general, not just in offices. In Italy, the announcement of the “3-G rule” in the workplace caused vaccination rates to skyrocket, according to broadcaster ORF.

‘3G Rule’: How to prove you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in Austria

Austria lagging EU on vaccines

The decision comes as Austria’s vaccination rate continues to lag. 

Austria has fallen significantly behind the EU average in vaccinations for the first time, where 66 percent of people have had at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19. In Austria it is just 59.9 percent.

The front runners are Portugal, Malta and Spain, where four out of five residents have already received a vaccination.

However the number of first vaccinations given has increased slightly. Last week, 54,202 people were vaccinated for the first time – 3,000 more than the week before.

At the lowest point of the vaccination campaign in mid-August, there were only 36,754 first vaccinations given in one week, Der Standard newspaper reports. 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Austria recommends Covid booster shot for children aged five and over

The commission also recommends three doses of the vaccine for people who have recovered from the coronavirus disease.

Austria recommends Covid booster shot for children aged five and over

Austria’s National Vaccination Board has recommended that children from the age of five get a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, the “booster” dose.

“This third vaccination should take place at the latest at the beginning of the school year ahead of the expected next waves of infection in autumn”, the board said in a press statement.

The third dose is recommended six months after the second shot, the commission added.

Additionally, the updated recommendation given by the government body also clarified that a total of three vaccinations are needed for “the best possible and long-term protection”, even among people who have already been infected with Covid-19.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: The latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria

The commission stated that “from an immunological point of view, these vaccinations are to be regarded as a basic vaccination”. This means that, in the future, the Covi-19 vaccination schedule will consider three doses of an approved vaccine.

According to the board statement, an infection with the coronavirus would only lead to a postponement of the vaccinations but shouldn’t replace any dose.

Austria’s Health Minister Johannes Rauch reinforced the need for vaccination in the country, which currently has fewer than 70 per cent of its population with two doses of the vaccine up to date.

“The corona vaccination has saved the lives of countless people and continues to do so. The ongoing adaptation of recommendations ensures that new scientific findings are constantly incorporated”, Rauch said in a press statement.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What are Austria’s plans to bring back the vaccine mandate?

The new recommendation can be found on Austria’s Health Ministry website. However, the ministry hasn’t specified how the recommendation would affect the Covid-19 passes or the “green pass” validity, especially those held by people who have recovered from the disease.

Covid numbers

Austria this Monday reported 4,111 new coronavirus infections, with 89,861 PCR tests taken in 24 hours. According to the Health Ministry, there are currently 1,492 people hospitalised with the virus (26 fewer than the day before), and 124 people are in intensive care units with Covid.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,054 people have died from the Covid-19.

The alpine country has currently 68.4 per cent of its population with a valid vaccination certificate, and 54.5 per cent of its population has received the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

READ ALSO: Austria to keep masks only in ‘essential places’ from April 16th

Austria has recently removed almost all of its coronavirus restrictions, including the need to show a valid vaccination certificate to enter bars and restaurants. The country also dropped its FFP2 mask mandate in all indoor areas except for “essential” places such as public transport, health areas, and supermarkets.

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