Austrian parliament approves vaccine mandate for adults
VIENNA (AP) — Austria’s parliament has voted to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults from Feb. 1, the first of its kind in Europe. Lawmakers voted 137 to 33 Thursday evening to approve the mandate, which will apply to all residents of Austria aged 18 and over. Exempted from the mandate are pregnant women, individuals who for medical reasons can’t be vaccinated, and people who have recovered from a coronavirus infection in the past six months. Officials say the mandate is necessary because vaccination rates remain too low in the small Alpine country. To start with, authorities will write to every household to inform them of the new rules. From mid-March, police will impose fines of up to 600 euros ($685).