Reader question: How do I get a flu vaccine in Austria?

Last year, the number of people who got vaccinated against the flu rose significantly in Austria, with some states offering the jab for free. A reader got in touch to ask what the situation will look like this winter.

Woman with flu in bed with tissues
Getting the flu vaccine can help protect you and others around you from illness, but who's eligible for a free jab in Austria? Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

How do I get a flu vaccine in Austria, and do I have to pay?

It depends on where you live and whether you belong to an at-risk group.

The flu vaccine is recommended for all adults in Austria, but some groups are particularly at risk from either catching the flu or falling severely ill with it.

The following groups are strongly recommended to get the flu vaccine: babies and toddlers, people aged over 60 (around 90 percent of all Austria’s flu deaths fall into these two age groups), people with certain chronic illnesses, people working in healthcare and care settings, pregnant people and those trying to get pregnant, and people with frequent contact with the public such as those working in retail or gastronomy.

This is particularly important during the Covid-19 pandemic for two reasons. Firstly, the fewer people who get severely ill from flu, the greater the capacity in the healthcare sector will be. And secondly, this year there is a high risk of a flu outbreak because last year there was no real wave of flu due to the measures in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Austria’s Chamber of Pharmacists also recommends getting the flu vaccine before winter travel overseas, with the flu season having already started in several popular holiday destinations for Austrian residents such as Croatia.

The recommended time for getting the vaccine is between late October and November, to ensure that you have the best change of protection during the usual peak of the season in December to January.

As for the cost of the vaccine, it is not free for adults as a general rule, but many groups can get the flu vaccine without paying.

For children aged between six months and 15 years, the vaccine is free, wherever you live in the country.

For adults, the vaccine is organized at a regional level, with most states procuring vaccines to be distributed for free among staff of healthcare facilities, elderly care homes, and schools for example. Some private employers also offer the flu vaccine for free, and some insurance programmes cover the cost.

If you don’t belong to any of those categories, you should contact your doctor to find out more. You can also find out more by calling the health information phoneline 1450 or by contacting your local authority responsible for organizing vaccinations; the contact details are listed here by the government.

The vaccine often costs money for adults outside the targeted groups, for example in Upper Austria the cost is €15, in Styria €16, in Salzburg €20, in Carinthia €22.

Last year, many states offered free flu vaccines for members of the public outside risk groups, but fewer are continuing the campaign this year. One exception however is Vienna, where you will be able to get a free flu vaccine starting from early November by booking online or speaking to your doctor.

You need to bring a photo ID to your appointment, and your e-card if you have one.

Got a question about life in Austria? Contact our editorial team at [email protected] and we will do our best to help you.

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How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge, or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Vienna.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

If you find yourself with a large piece of furniture or big household appliance that has seen its prime and is not bound to the trashcan, then you might be wondering where to dispose of them – legally, that is.

Even if it is not uncommon to see furniture or appliances next to the big trashcans often placed near households and apartment complexes, it is illegal to leave them there.

Different cities have different methods – some will even pick up trash at specific times and places. To know how your city deals with bulky waste (Sperrmüll), you can google “Sperrmüll + the name of your city”.

READ ALSO: Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

Vienna has several waste collection points where you can leave bulky waste, electrical appliances, hazardous waste (in household quantities) and other old goods for no charge.

The use of the Wiener Mistplätze is subject to certain quantity limits and requirements, but they are to avoid industrial use. Therefore, most households will have no problem with the limitations.

Here you can find several collection points in Vienna.

It is worth pointing out that delivery to those sites can only be made by cars with Viennese license plates, on foot or by bicycle. Furthermore, no trailers or company cars are allowed to leave trash at these collection points.

What can you bring to the collection centres?

This is the place to bring large sheets of plastic foil, bulky or large metal parts and electrical appliances, for example.

Additionally, you can bring small amounts of bulky waste, wood, styrofoam, large cardboard boxes, green waste and used tires to any waste collection centres.

Depending on what you are disposing of, you might need to go to the Rinter centre, one of the larger ones.

READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke

The centres also have a separate division where it is possible to donate old items still in good condition, the so-called 48er-Tandler-Box.

Tableware, small furniture, electrical appliances, clothes, toys and other items can be reused and bought at a low price at the 48er-Tandler reuse shop.

Most centres are open only from Monday to Friday during business hours, but others are also available on Saturdays.

What to do if I don’t have a car?

If you don’t need a car but still need to dispose of a large appliance, the Viennese solution varies.

Some will take public transport with a couple of friends trying to help them carry an old sofa via the u-bahn, although that can get a little tough at peak hour. 

Alternatively, you can borrow or rent a vehicle to try and save costs.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

But Vienna City also has a service that will pick up the trash for a low fee – even if it is located in the attic, a basement or a courtyard.

It’s the Entrümpelungsdienst und Sperrmüllabfuhr der MA 48. You can also ask for the “dump service” when the city of Vienna brings a trough (the smallest can fit 12 cubic meters).

Once you fill it up, they will remove it and take it to the appropriate place.

Costs will depend on the amount of trash, the size of the appliance, and where in the household it is located.