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VIENNA

Delays and high demand force Vienna to expand Covid vaccinations

Vienna will expand its Covid vaccine offerings due to high demand, with some waiting up to two hours to get the jab.

Demand for vaccines is on the rise again in Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Demand for vaccines is on the rise again in Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Long lines in Viennese vaccination centres led to people having to wait one and a half to two hours to get the coronavirus jab, according to reports in Austria media.

Some people were told to get vaccinated elsewhere due to the high demand. 

Broadcaster ORF said that the surge in demand comes just after the city of Vienna simplified the access to the fourth Covid vaccination. As a result, people can get the shot after four months of the third dose without the need for registration or appointment.

With increasing coronavirus numbers ahead of the summer holidays, the search for the vaccine has also risen. While about 300 people were vaccinated daily less than two weeks ago, about 1,300 people went every day at the weekend, the report said.

Health authorities recommend people make an appointment even though they are not required to. “With an appointment, it’s easier for us to plan, and there is also a separate area for people with appointments”, Susanne Drapalik, chief physician at the Samaritan League, told reporters.

The Austrian capital will also extend the opening hours of the vaccination centres to meet demand.

More information is available here. 

Who should receive a second booster? 

Austria’s GECKO crisis coordinator Katharina Reich and Health Minister Rauch are now calling for vulnerable people to get vaccinated in light of the rising number of corona cases.

“We won’t have any peace in the summer. There is no stability. Vulnerable groups should get vaccinated now and again in the autumn. Everyone else who has already been vaccinated three times should get boosters around eight weeks before the autumn wave,” Reich told Austrian media.

Currently, Austria’s National Vaccination Committee (NIG) has recommended a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but only for those deemed at risk of serious illness.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What should I do if my Austrian Green Pass is expiring

The NIG identifies risk groups as people over 80 and those between the ages of 65 and 79 with a weakened immune system or existing health conditions.

The committee is considering lowering the recommended age to 65, even for people with no other health conditions.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 in Austria: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

In Vienna, the fourth dose can already be given off-label to persons over the age of 65 or to anyone who wants to take it after a medical individual risk-benefit assessment.

Clinical pharmacologist Markus Zeitlinger, from MedUni Vienna, told Kurier that he believes anyone who wants maximum immune protection at all times should get a vaccination now – children excluded. He said since there will be a summer wave, people shouldn’t wait to get protected.

He said there is medically no reason not to get vaccinated in June, and then again as early as October. 

If you have had three vaccinations and had an infection confirmed by PCR test, then no further vaccination is currently recommended.

 

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VIENNA

Vienna: How to get up to €1,000 to buy a cargo bike

Austria's capital is offering to subsidise the purchase of cargo bikes (electric or not) for private individuals. Here's how to apply for the funds.

Vienna: How to get up to €1,000 to buy a cargo bike

If you are considering purchasing a transport bicycle and live in Vienna – where those bikes are becoming more popular – you can apply for up to €1,000 in financial support from the City of Viena.

“Transport bicycles are bicycles with added value. They can carry the weekly shopping, the things needed for an excursion, or children after a day out at a playground. All this without emitting harmful emissions. A win-win situation for people and the climate,” said Martin Blum, Managing Director of the Vienna Mobility Agency.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to claim your €200 voucher for electronics repair in Austria

The purchase of cargo bikes for private individuals is subsidised by up to €1,000. In addition, “special bikes” such as wheelchair cargo bikes or wheelchair rickshaws, mainly used to transport people with walking disabilities, will also be subsidised.

“In order to advance climate protection in Vienna, a variety of measures are needed. In addition to expanding public transport, sharing services and cycling infrastructure, we are also promoting transport bicycles,” said Mobility City Councillor Ulli Sima.

How much will the City finance?

Private individuals with their primary residence in Vienna have the opportunity to receive a subsidy. A maximum of 50 percent of the purchase price is refunded.

For transport bicycles without an electric motor, the maximum subsidy is €800. The maximum support for cargo bicycles with an electric motor is €1,000.

The subsidy applies to newly purchased transport bicycles and retroactively.

READ ALSO: Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Transport bicycles purchased after March 1st 2022, can be submitted for funding. The City of Vienna’s transport bicycle subsidy for private individuals will run until the end of 2026.

How do I apply for the subsidy?

The applications are made online and in two steps.

The first requires applicants to send documents with details on the bike and its cost and their own data, including your proof of residence.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about cycling in Austria

After the request is approved and you buy your cargo bike, the second step needs to be completed. It involves sending the invoice for the cargo bike, including a picture of it, and other information, including your bank account details, so that the payment can be made to your account.

In other words, the funding comes only after you’ve purchased the bike, but it is confirmed beforehand – so you don’t need to worry about buying a bike and ultimately paying the total price for it.

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