The obligation to vaccinate “divided people,” explained Health and Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) on Thursday when he officially announced the end of the obligation to vaccinate in Austria at a press conference (the eXXpress reported). The great degree of truth inherent in this – admittedly not surprising – statement by the third Health Minister of the Corona pandemic is also reflected in the reactions of the opposition: While the FPÖ, which opposed compulsory vaccination from the outset, and the MFG, which only emerged as a major counter-movement against the compulsory vaccination, cheer, the rest of the major opposition parties around SPÖ and NEOS sees the vaccination requirement decidedly more skeptical – and sometimes even as a big mistake.
SPÖ health spokesman Phillip Kucher clearly finds the sharpest words for the end of compulsory vaccination. He sees the abolition of compulsory vaccination as the “temporary peak of government failure” and demands that the government justify the experts on the basis of which the decision was made. While experts would expect 30,000 new infections a day as early as July, the government is trying to distract from its “unsuitable package against inflation” by lifting the vaccination requirement, says Kucher.
What is exciting, however, is that not all Reds accept the end of compulsory vaccination as so dramatic. Even more surprising is that the most relaxed reaction from the SPÖ camp comes from Vienna of all things – as far as the corona measures are concerned, otherwise so strict: Peter Hacker apparently has no problem with an end to compulsory vaccination, like the reaction of the red one Vienna City Councilor for Health on Thursday shows: “I will not resist it. That wasn’t our idea in Vienna, we supported it,” Hacker explained on Thursday at the presentation of the new patient advocate. The planned commitment has led to many misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Original sound Hacker: “It wasn’t the big Howler.”
“Announcing the end of compulsory vaccination in the middle of the summer wave fits in with the completely chaotic crisis management of the ÖVP and the Greens,” says deputy NEOS club chairman Niki Scherak. The government “screwed up” compulsory vaccination from the start and thus abused people’s trust. In addition, Scherak still sees no plan for the fall.
For FPÖ club chairman Herbert Kickl, an appointment with the health committee is needed soon so that the law can be abolished before the summer break. With the Vaccination Act, however, the Covid 19 Measures Act must also fall, as this enables “vaccination obligation via the back door”. “The Minister of Health can use ordinances at any time to implement measures such as 2G access regulations, lockdowns for the unvaccinated and thus the exclusion of the unvaccinated from public life,” Kickl is quoted as saying in a broadcast on Thursday morning. The Upper Austrian state party chairman Manfred Haimbuchner described the decision as a “success for freedom” and “a step out of the social divide towards a new togetherness”. However, the government’s previous “zigzag course” has caused a lot of chaos.
Michael Brunner, MFG chairman and opponent of vaccination from the beginning, the abolition of compulsory vaccination as a “success for civil society”. For him, however, the decision was only politically motivated, Brunner is already expecting compulsory vaccination to be reintroduced after the Tyrolean state elections and is calling for new elections at federal level.