EU state sets up commission on legality of Covid jab mandates
An expert commission of doctors and lawyers has been established and met for the first time on Friday to determine whether Austria’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate is legal, according to Austrian media.
The commission is expected to make its first report available by March 8, a week before Austria’s compulsory vaccination law – the first in Europe – is set to come into full effect on March 16.
The law has technically been in force since the beginning of February, but authorities have not yet begun checking citizens’ vaccination status.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer praised the commission team as “highly qualified” in a broadcast and said that the federal government will make a further decision on the basis of their report.
Nehammer said the compulsory vaccination law was “built for good reason in such a way that we can react flexibly to developments.”
Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said the commission will “guarantee that further action on compulsory vaccination will be supported by a comprehensive scientific basis.”
The compulsory vaccination commission consists of physicians Eva Schernhammer and Herwig Kollaritsch, medical lawyer Karl Stöger, and legal scholar Christiane Wendehorst.
From March 16, the police can require citizens to show their vaccination certificate as part of their checks and report a violation. Fines range from €600 to €3,600 for those who refuse to get vaccinated.
When the mandatory jabs were announced, Austria had one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, with only 65% inoculated against Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In early February, around 75% of Austrians were fully vaccinated.