Covid-19 in Austria: Possible Easing of Measures in Schools

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: June 4, 2021; 08:55 ♦ (Vindobona)

With a high vaccination rate among the 12- to 15-year-olds and a low incidence rate, Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Education Minister Hein Faßmann can imagine relaxations of Covid-19 measures in schools. Read more below.

Austria's Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (right) and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (left) announce possible relaxations of Covid-19 measures in schools. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Andy Wenzel

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced possible relaxations of Covid-19 containment measures for the next school year beginning in September 2021.

"For the fall, a certain vaccination coverage rate among the younger ones will certainly have a positive impact on school operations. The final decision on this is expected to be made in August," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said during a visit to a high school in Vienna's 11th district together with Education Minister Heinz Faßmann, according to a press release by the Austrian Chancellery.

"Due to the vaccinations, the starting position is different from the previous year," said the Austrian head of government, who referred to a rapid response and revaccination in case of mutations.

Education Minister Heinz Faßmann raised the question of whether the high testing effort would also be pursued in the fall: "Testing three times a week costs time and money. I cannot rule out the possibility that increased testing will only be carried out where there are high incidences. We also need to think about mandatory masks."

In any case, he said, caution is still called for, especially for a country like Austria, which is surrounded by numerous other countries.

With regard to the remaining tests at the end of this school year, he stated: "We plan to give the antigen tests that remain at the schools to the children and young people for the vacations."

As reported, the Covid-19 vaccine from BionTech/Pfizer can now be also administered to the 12- to 15-year-olds. On the one hand, this means a higher demand for the vaccines in Austria, on the other, it could lead to a safer school start in the fall.

With regard to the availability of the vaccine from BionTech/Pfizer, the manufacturer has announced the exact delivery tranches for June in the European Union. A total of 2.5 million vaccine doses will be delivered to Austria in June.

The Austrian Chancellery and Ministry of Health emphasize that all vaccine doses coming to Austria as part of the pan-European deliveries will be distributed immediately to all vaccination sites in the provinces in order to reach the vaccination targets as quickly as possible. With the addition of 12- to 15-year-olds, the vaccine-eligible population has now grown to approximately 7.9 million people.

As of today, more than 5.2 million vaccine doses have already been administered in Austria, and in the coming days, more than 4 million people in Austria will soon have received at least one protective vaccine dose.

Austrian Chancellery

Austrian Ministry of Health