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

Deputy leader of the FPOe and former Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Deputy leader of the FPOe and former Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

500 euros for vaccination bonus on the table

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he was open to vaccination bonuses before the mandatory vaccination scheme comes into effect in 2022. 

While Covid vaccinations will become mandatory in February – with high fines forecast for those who don’t get the jab – bonuses of up to 500 euros could be on the table to encourage people to get the jab beforehand. 

‘Impfpflicht’: How will Austria’s mandatory vaccination law work in practice?

“Everything that helps us to get more people to vaccinate before the vaccination is actually mandated… sends a positive signal for our society,” Nehammer said. 

The Chancellor said it was up to the experts to devise a scheme, although he said those who have already got the jab should be rewarded as well. 

“But one thing is also clear: it can then not only affect those who are newly vaccinated, but of course also applies to everyone who was willing to be vaccinated.”

On December 27th Austria crossed the 70 percent threshold of vaccinated people, one year after the Covid inoculation campaign begun. 

New fraud allegations at Austria Vaccination Centre

A network of employees at the Austria Centre, which administers Covid vaccinations, is under investigation for having collected money to issue fake vaccination passports. 

An employee of the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, which administers the centre, told Austria’s Heute newspaper she had witnessed employees “collecting money from people to enter them into the system as immunised persons without a vaccination certificate”. 

“If you wanted to have your vaccination certificate forged, you had to know exactly who to talk to and which cabin to go to,” the insider said. 

It is unclear how much money was taken or how many certificates were issued. 

This is not the first such case at the Austria Centre. In June, employees at the centre had stolen stamped, non-personalised vaccination cards. 

Do Austrian hospitals need ‘protection zones’?

Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner wants to set up ‘protection zones’ around the country’s hospitals due to the threat of radicalised Covid vaccination opponents. 

Karner said he did not want to restrict people’s right to protest but said health facilities needed to be “very, very vigilant” to the threat posed by “right-wing marginalised groups”. 

While the vast majority of the protests against Covid measures – including the mandatory vaccination order – have been peaceful, there are growing fears about radicalisation on the fringes of the movement. 

READ MORE: Tens of thousands protest Austria compulsory Covid jabs

Karner will hold talks on Wednesday to discuss the plan. 

Far-right politician wants study into horse medicine

Far-right Austrian politician Herbert Kickl has called for a study into horse deworming agent Ivermectin as a treatment for Covid. 

Kickl, who said the effects of Covid were “barely noticeable” for the vast majority of the population, has repeatedly courted controversy during the pandemic and is an outspoken opponent of the compulsory vaccination plan. 

Ivermectin has become popular among conspiracy theorists as a treatment for Covid, despite no evidence of its effectiveness and repeated warnings from medical experts that it should be restricted for veterinary usage. 


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