Europe : Austria introduces lottery to motivate people to get vaccinated
Austria’s conservative-led government said on Thursday it was introducing a national lottery to encourage holdouts to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, hours before parliament was due to pass a bill introducing a national vaccine mandate.
Around 72% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated against Covid, marking Austria with one of lowest vaccination rates in wester Europe.
On Wednesday, daily infections surged to a new record as Omicron variant spread further. The government wants to avoid another national lockdown since the country emerged from its fourth lockdown just last month.
The Austrian government on Sunday presented revised plans for its proposed Covid19 vaccine mandate, which it said will now apply to all residents age 18 and over, rather than 14 as originally intended. Officials said that a phased introduction will give people plenty of opportunity to comply.
From mid-March, police will start checking people’s vaccination status during routine checks; people who can’t produce proof of vaccination will be asked in writing to do so, and will be fined up to 600 euros ($685) if they don’t.