Austria’s 2G rule: What do I do if I can’t get vaccinated?

Under Austria's current Covid-19 measures, unvaccinated people are excluded from many parts of society such as restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and events. So what about those who can't get the jab?

Covid vaccine syringe
For the vast majority of the population in Austria, the vaccine against Covid-19 is safe and is recommended to protect against serious illness. But what about those who can't have it? File photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP

According to data from the Austrian Health Ministry, 11 percent of the population is unable to get the Covid-19 vaccine, either due to their age (the vaccine is currently only available for over-12s) or for medical reasons.

For those aged under 12, the 2G rule does not apply, and teens aged 12-15 should be able to show a negative test result using the Ninja Pass (test certificates for children) in order to enter 2G venues, which is particularly useful for 12-year-olds who have not been eligible for the vaccine long enough to have had both doses.

Statistik Austria shows that at the start of 2021, a total of 1,031,247 people were aged under 12, making up just over 11 percent of the total population, so only a very small number of people are affected by illnesses or conditions that make them ineligible for the vaccine.

If you do belong to this group, you are exempt from the 2G rule and should have already received information from your doctor on obtaining proof of this in the form of a medical certificate. You can show this proof together with an authorized negative PCR test result (not an antigen test) to enter 2G venues. A negative test on its own is not enough; you also need the valid proof of medical exemption from the 2G requirement.

The other group of people who may be unable to get the Covid vaccine are those who tested positive for the virus recently.

People in this category can instead use the second ‘G’ (genesen or ‘recovered’) for their proof of entry, by getting a recovery certificate from their doctor. Recovery is valid 2G proof for 180 days, and during that time you should be able to get your Covid vaccine.

If you do not fall into one of the above categories, you will need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to enter 2G venues. You can call the health helpline 1450 for advice, or speak to your own doctor, if you have questions before getting the vaccine.

Note that foreign residents are not excluded from vaccination in Austria. You can get the Covid vaccine for free, without needing to show a social security number or e-card. You can also request a social security number for the specific purpose of getting the vaccine (for example if you are living in Austria with private insurance rather than an Austrian insurance), which will ease the process of getting your vaccine details added to your Green Pass. 

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”