The nation of Austria has suspended its controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate, with government officials citing concerns about the policy infringing on individual freedoms.
Ministers for health and constitutional affairs announced the move on June 22nd, just six days before individuals who failed to comply with the policy would have begun receiving fines for their decision.
The measure was the most comprehensive mandate within the European Union, as it applied to all adults with virtually no exceptions. It had been in effect since February 5th, 2022, but enforcement formally began on March 15th, 2022z
“We will… suspend the vaccine mandate in accordance with the principle of proportionality,” constitutional affairs minister Karoline Edtstadler remarked during a news conference.
“Why? Because there are many convincing arguments at the moment that this infringement of fundamental rights is not justified.”
Edtstadler detailed how the Austrian government was acting on the recommendation of a panel of experts that must regularly review the public health and constitutional law aspects of the recently overturned mandate.
She and Health Minister Johannes Rauch, however, said the vaccine mandate could yet be reintroduced if necessary, with the next review due within three months.
Austria’s decision to scrap its COVID-19 vaccine mandate comes amidst controversy in the U.S. over President Joe Biden’s efforts to force the jab on federal workers. Many private companies have issued similar ultimatums to employees, despite a host of recent studies demonstrating the harmful side effects of the vaccine.
Despite the fact that more research into the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine needs to be done, pharmaceutical giants including Pfizer and Moderna have increased their lobbying efforts to record-breaking highs in terms of personnel hired and overall money spent.