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Corona tracing app LUCA illegally exploited by German police. Photo credit: Kai Pilger
Vienna

Compulsory vaccination postponed in Austria and Germany due to ‘technical problems’

In February and March, respectively, both Germany and Austria would have introduced compulsory vaccination against Covid-19, something that has met with massive protests. In step with the growing resistance among the populations in both countries, signals from leading politicians are now coming that what is called the "vaccination obligation" will not be introduced in February and March. Technical problems and unsustainable time planning are said to be reasons for the coercive measures being postponed.

Published: January 13, 2022, 10:30 am

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    In mid-November, the Austrian government, made up of the conservative ÖVP party and the Greens, announced the introduction of a so-called “vaccination obligation” for all residents of the country to reduce, according to the government, the spread of Covid-19. This sent minor shock waves through Europe.

    Most then understood that the introduction of compulsory vaccination and repressive measures against those who did not obey would be the definitive evidence that the Corona pandemic was being used as a pretext to establish a dystopian control and a police state.

    Fines and imprisonment

    The Compulsory Vaccination Act was intended to be introduced from February 1 and had been provided with highly repressive tools to make citizens obedient to the Austrian state. The measures that the government intended to take concerned both fines and imprisonment. Those who refused to be vaccinated would have faced stiff fines, while non-payers faced prison.

    Around January 8, however, Austrian media reported that the oppressive compulsory vaccination law would be postponed. The company ELGA GMBH, which develops the technology to be used to monitor citizens’ willingness to adapt, now claims that it needs more time to fully develop the monitoring technology. It is expected that the technology would be implemented at the earliest from April this year.

    Popular protests are growing in strength

    While the surveillance company ELGA GMBH claims to have suffered from “technical problems”, a number of companies and organizations have also sent responses to the government in which they strongly criticize the proposed compulsory vaccination law for violating Austria’s legislation on civil liberties and rights.

    At the same time, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets at the risk of their own safety to show their opposition to the increasingly totalitarian state which is Austria.

    Germany is also postponing compulsory vaccination

    In November 2021, around the same time as Austria announced its intention to introduce compulsory vaccination of the entire population from February, the new Social Democratic Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, announced similar measures. He said that in the so-called traffic light coalition, consisting of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals (red, green and yellow), it was agreed that a “vaccination obligation” would be introduced in early March 2022.

    But even from Germany, there are now signals that the compulsory vaccination will be postponed indefinitely, at least until May. On the same weekend as the Austrian media reported that their compulsory vaccination was being postponed, German media announced the same thing, including the Tagesspiegel newspaper and the German public-service TV channel ARD’s news program Tagesschau.

    Perfidious liberals

    According to both Tagesspiegel and Tagesschau, authorities need to better investigate the legal consequences of a compulsory vaccination law, according to German mainstream media. Somewhat unexpectedly, however, these media outlets state that it is the smallest governing party in the traffic light coalition, the liberal FDP, which raises more and more questions about whether a compulsory vaccination law rhymes with the German legislation. This has not only irritated the Social Democrats and the Greens, but also the largest opposition party the CDU.

    The postponement may be a ruse by these parties to placate opponents before they issue fresh totalitarian decrees. Last month, the European Medicines Agency authorized boosters every three months. The WHO however released a statement on Wednesday pointing out that “a vaccination strategy based on repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable”.

    Nationalist parties are fighting for freedom

    It should be said that in Germany, the popular libertarian protests against the already existing restrictions and the intended compulsory vaccination law have increased. In both countries these are national-minded opposition parties. In Austria it is the FPÖ and in Germany it the AFD.

    The resistance to Covid-19 vaccines in German-speaking has been notable, especially in Switzerland. Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Switzerland has the lowest Covid-19 vaccination rate in western Europe. More than one-third of the Swiss population have not even had a first dose of the jab.

    In neighbouring Austria, over 33 percent have yet to take a single shot of the vaccine, and in Germany it is also more than 30 percent. In Germany, resistance to the vaccine is marked in the affluent southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg as well as in regions which were part of the GDR, such as Saxony.

    Bavarian President Markus Söder told a German talk-show: “We have two viruses in the country. We have Coronavirus and we have this poison [of vaccine skepticism], which is being spread on a massive scale by the Querdenker and by parties like the [far-right] Alternative for Germany [AfD].”

    In Switzerland, vaccine uptake in German cantons has been far lower than in French and Italian ones. In Appenzell Innerrhoden, 45 percent of the population was still completely unvaccinated in November 2021, at the height of the vaccine drive and even before the reports of adverse events following the jab started surfacing.

    In a survey Erfurt University asked Germans why they did not want these jabs. Some 80 percent of the unvaccinated said they needed to weigh up the risks and benefits first, while 41 percent simply considered vaccination “unnecessary”.

    In Austria’s regional elections in September, MFG, a newly established vaccine-sceptic party, made its entry into politics. Some 30 percent of its voters were previous supporters of the far-right, 30 percent were former moderate conservatives and 16 percent were former Socialists and 12 percent were ex-Greens.

    Corona app already used by police

    It recently became known that the German police in Mainz accessed data from the contact tracing app LUCA after a death. The authorities have thus been issuing penalties within the framework of mandatory vaccination on ELGA, the electronic vaccination database.

    A fall resulting in death in front of a restaurant is likely to have prompted the Mainz police and public prosecutor’s office in their investigation to find witnesses by accessing the LUCA app. However, there is no legal basis for doing so. The fall occurred at the end of November.

    According to media reports, the questionable investigative steps even led to 21 witnesses being summoned. And that although the data recorded in the app is allegedly used to track contacts in the context of the Corona pandemic, according to the German Infection Protection Act and data protection, this has not been the case.

    Users actually have to be informed in advance about the possible use and disclosure of their personal data. This contact tracking app is used by over 40 million Germans and is only intended to notify registered people in the event of a Corona outbreak. The trust of citizens in such apps is certainly not strengthened by the Mainz case.

    The fact that a declaration of consent for the processing of personal data has to be signed when visiting the dentist, for example, borders on mockery.

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