Explained: Compulsory Covid Vaccination for All in Austria as of February 2022

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: November 25, 2021; 15:27 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Austrian government has announced that vaccination against COVID-19 will be mandatory as early as February 2022. Learn more about the new law and what it means for people in Austria.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg: "I and others have assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to get vaccinated voluntarily. But we have to face reality." / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Dragan Tatic

Austria has become one of the only countries in the world to announce that vaccination against COVID-19 will be mandatory.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein both said that they initially did not want to make vaccination compulsory, but they argue that the low vaccination rate and increased hospitalizations have left them with no alternative.

“For a long time, perhaps too long, I and others have assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to get vaccinated voluntarily, for their own protection and the protection of their fellow human beings. But we have to face reality,” said Schallenberg.

However, this announcement of a vaccine mandate has left many with questions about how it will work.


The government announced a deadline for mandatory vaccination could be as early as 1 February 2022.

While the law is still in the works, this is the tentative date by which everyone must be vaccinated or face penalties.


Naturally, the government has announced that there will likely be exceptions in certain cases.

People who cannot be vaccinated without endangering their life or health will almost certainly be exempt from the mandate. However, this must be proven with an official medical certificate.

Pregnant women are also likely to be exempt from the mandate.

People who were infected and have recovered from the virus might be exempt for a certain period, which the law will specify, but the mandate will apply to them after this time has passed.

It remains unknown from what age the mandate will apply, especially since children of certain ages are still only able to be vaccinated off-label. However, many expect that, once the vaccine is officially approved for children, the mandate will apply to them as well.

Another unknown is whether the mandate will only apply to Austrian citizens or foreign residents and tourists as well.

Enforcement and penalties

The question of how to find the unvaccinated and enforce the law is still open to debate, but some experts have speculated that the government may either send letters to all the unvaccinated with a deadline, allow for spot-checks by police, hold employers accountable for unvaccinated employees, or some combination of these.

The government has announced that those who are not vaccinated and do not have a legitimate exception will face administrative penalties.

The fines are estimated at up to € 3,600 for failing to be fully vaccinated and up to € 1,450 for refusing to get a booster vaccination.


Some people, including Freedom Party Leader Herbert Kickl, have questioned the legality of compulsory vaccination.

However, Schallenberg and Mückstein have made it clear that the constitutionality of the law was previously discussed with constitutional lawyers, and they have been told that the mandate is acceptable under the constitution.

It must be noted that the chancellor and health minister both said that the law is still in the process of being written, and the details of the requirement will be worked out in the coming weeks.

Austrian Federal Chancellery