EURO 2020

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

Find out what's going on in Austria on Wednesday with The Local's short roundup of today's important news.

The Gaislachkogl Mountain (3050m) in the Tyrol region in the heart of the Austrian Alps, on July 11, 2018. (Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP)
Illustration photo: Hikers take a break on the top of the Gaislachkogl Mountain (3050m) in the Tyrol region in the heart of the Austrian Alps, on July 11, 2018. (Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP)

Vaccination appointments can be made for children in Lower and Upper Austria

From Wednesday (June 2nd) at 10am, twelve to 15-year olds Upper Austria and Lower Austria can register for a Covid-19 vaccination.

The link for Lower Austria is here, and for Upper Austria is here. The vaccination used will be Biontech/Pfizer.

Kurz reacts to criticism of vaccine rollout 

As The Local reported yesterday, the promise that everyone will receive at least one dose of a vaccination against Covid-19 by the end of June made by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is unlikely to be kept.

Kurz gave a press conference on Tuesday in which he blamed the failure on the increased willingness to vaccinate in the Austrian population and the inclusion of 12 to 15 year olds and pregnant women in the vaccination campaign.

He pointed out five million people would still be vaccinated in Austria by the end of June, which he gave as his original target in April. 


Vaccine hesitancy on the decline in Austria

There is increased willingness to vaccinate in the Austrian population, according to a survey by the University of Vienna made available to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper.

The Austrian Corona Panel Project found in May only 22 percent of those surveyed said they would “definitely not” or “probably not” want to be vaccinated, by far the lowest value since the beginning of the pandemic. In March this group was still around a third of the respondents.

Opposition slams ‘broken promises’ by Kurz

The opposition SPÖ party criticised Kurz over the vaccine rollout, broadcaster ORF reports. SPÖ health spokesman Philip Kucher said although Kurz would be vaccinated by the end of June, “numerous people” across Austria were “once again disappointed”.

He said Kurz had broken promises to vaccinate all over 65-year-olds by the end of April, to vaccinate all over 50-year-olds by the end of May and to purchase additional vaccine doses in the millions, saying none of this has ever happened.

Some outlets have pointed out Austria’s ruling coalition did not buy its full allocation of Johnson and Johnson and Biontech doses from the EU according to population in August 2020, meaning Austria is likely to slip down the EU vaccination league tables as the summer progresses compared to other countries which bought as much vaccine as they could. 

Leader of FPÖ in surprise resignation

As The Local reported yesterday, Norbert Hofer, the leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), announced his resignation on Tuesday after weeks of infighting and tension with party colleague and former Interior Minister Herbert Kickl. 

Chancellor Kurz spoke of a strong personal relationship with Hofer and wished him well,  Der Standard newspaper reports,  while liberal NEOS party Secretary General Donig warned of a “radicalisation” of the party, should Kickl take over as leader as is rumoured. 

Children in Austria are environmentally conscious and open to migration

Young people in Austria  are environmentally conscious and open to migration according to a large-scale study by the universities of teacher education (PH), for which 14,400 students between the ages of 14 and 16 were surveyed in spring 2020.

Free antibody test when you give blood in Vienna

Anyone who goes to Vienna to donate blood in June can also have a free antibody check to see if they have recovered from a Covid-19 infection, the Kurier newspaper reports.

Those interested should contact the Red Cross blood donation centre in Wiedner Hauptstrasse 32.

England plays Austria in Euro 2020 friendly

England will kick off their build up to Euro 2020 with a friendly against Austria at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesborough on Wednesday at 9 p.m. You can watch it live on ORF 1.

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What to know about Austria’s new advice on Covid vaccines

As the coronavirus pandemic progressed, each country developed its own vaccination recommendation, which often changed. Here is the new advice from the Austrian vaccination panel.

What to know about Austria's new advice on Covid vaccines

The Austrian National Vaccination Panel has updated its recommendations on Covid vaccination on several points, the Ministry of Health announced.

“Special attention continues to be paid to the completion of the basic immunisation, which is recommended for all persons five years of age and older, and to the booster vaccination,” according to the Ministry of Health.

The booster shot is generally available to all persons 12 years of age and older and is free of charge, but it is especially recommended for persons 60 years of age and older and those at risk.

READ ALSO: Masks against Covid and flu: What’s ahead for Austria this winter

In Austria, the basic immunisation against Covid-19 consists of three vaccine doses. A fourth dose, also known as a booster shot, is also recommended.

What is new in the recommendation?

Austria is adding a new coronavirus vaccine, from Sanofi (VidPrevtyn Beta), to the list of offers against the virus. The new vaccine is protein-based and has already been approved by the European authorities. 

In Austria, the Sanofi vaccine can be used from the third vaccination onwards on people older than 18. The offer will be available at the vaccination sites in the coming week at the earliest, according to the Ministry. 

READ ALSO: Colds and flu: What to do and say if you get sick in Austria

Another change is that the variant Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 from BioNTech/Pfizer will also be used for the third vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years. 

This vaccine is specially adapted to the virus variants Omicron BA.4 and 5. It is now available for children in a special application shot that should be in vaccination sites starting next week at the earliest. 

READ ALSO: What to expect from the ski season in Austria this winter

Also included in the recommendations is a clarification specifically on an additional booster vaccination (fifth vaccination). 

People at risk from the age of 18, and those from the age of 60 can receive the additional booster vaccination four months after the fourth vaccination. According to the vaccination panel, no fifth vaccination is necessary for healthy people under 60.