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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
A police car patrols by the closed Christmas market in Stephansplatz. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

70 percent attendance in schools on Day 1 of lockdown

This figure was shared by the Ministry for Education yesterday, following confusion after Education Minister Heinz Faßmann advised parents to decide for themselves whether to send their children into face-to-face lessons, because he said they know what is best for their children. That’s despite the Health Minister asking parents to keep their children at home if possible, causing a lot of confusion among parents.

Public broadcaster launches its own vaccine lottery

Lottery initiatives have been credited with Burgenland’s comparatively successful vaccine take-up, and now broadcaster ORF is starting one nationwide.

It’s open to people who were vaccinated against Covid between October 1st and December 20th, whether it was your first, second or third dose, and there are 1,000 non-cash prizes in offer including cars. If you’re eligible, you sign up at Winners will be announced on Christmas Eve.

Vaccination for over-5s rolls out further in Tyrol

The region follows Vienna in offering Covid vaccines to children aged 5-11 at the region’s vaccination centres.

Some municipalities began vaccinating children over the weekend, with Innsbruck starting today and others planning to begin through the course of the week.

At the moment these jabs are being given ‘off-label’ — which means they are being given based on an assessment of available scientific data, but in a different way to the terms regulated in the licence, which only refer to over-12s. But the European Medicines Agency is expected to grant its approval for the Pfizer vaccine in younger children this week.

Booster shots possible after four months

This change, down from six months, was first announced on Friday when the government also announced the fourth lockdown and plans for mandatory vaccinations. Now it has been confirmed by the National Vaccine Committee, which updated its recommendations yesterday.

For vaccines with an mRNA jab, such as Pfizer or Moderna, the third dose is possible after four months, and if the first doses were with AstraZeneca, four months is recommended. You can speak to a doctor or medical professional to find out what is best for you, either by calling the health hotline 1450 or contacting your GP.

Show us your Austria

Are you using the lockdown to explore your local neighbourhood again? We’d love to see your photos of Austria during the lockdown, to share with readers located elsewhere in Austria and around the world. If you snap a good picture of Austria and you’re happy for us to publish it in an article, please email it to [email protected].

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