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European Country Mandates National COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

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Austria is imposing a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate beginning Feb. 1. The government has not clarified at what age the mandate will begin to apply or what constitutes being “fully vaccinated.”

Those still unvaccinated on Feb. 1 are expected to face fines which, if left unpaid, could be converted into jail time, The Guardian reported.

The country is also imposing a nationwide lockdown beginning Monday to last at least 10 days, BBC News reported. Austria imposed a lockdown for unvaccinated people ages 12 and older Monday, CNN reported. The unvaccinated were already barred from restaurants and other elements of public life, according to CNN.

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Shallenberg announced Friday that all children would need to stay home from school, but the country’s health minister later said schools would remain open for those who could not homeschool, according to Fox News.

Austria has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, according to Fox News.

The U.S. is grappling with its own vaccine mandate, set to be imposed nationwide by the Biden administration on Jan. 4. Individuals employed by companies with more than 100 employees may be forced to either receive a COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing for the virus. The Biden administration’s proposed rule was halted in court Tuesday, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear legal challenges to the mandate.

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