(by The Local.at) – As Austria prepares for a law making vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory to come into effect this week, around 20 percent of the eligible population remain unvaccinated, raising fears of stigmatisation and social divides.
Despite the mandate, musician Katharina Teufel-Lieli insists she won’t bow to pressure to get the jab.
“I have the right to decide over my body… to simply say ‘no,’” the harpist told AFP at her home in Neumarkt-am-Wallersee, not far from the western city of Salzburg.
Austria this week becomes the first European Union country to make Covid-19 vaccination legally compulsory for adults.
Under the new law, those holding out against the jab can face fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,100) from mid-March after an introductory phase.
According to government data, as of January 30th 75.57 percent of the total population had received at least one vaccine dose against the virus, which is 79.43 percent of the population eligible for vaccination.
Teufel-Lieli, 49, is one of tens of thousands to have joined massive demonstrations against the law and other coronavirus-related measures since November, when plans for the legal change were announced.
The mother of six said that she used to be “apolitical” but the state is “overstepping the mark” by “attacking people” through this act of “totalitarianism”.
Access to certain services has already been restricted since last year under government-imposed measures. Entry to restaurants, hairdressers, hotels, non-essential shops, sports and cultural venues has only been permitted since November to those who are vaccinated or recently recovered.
This has sparked complaints within the retail sector about staff having to act as “an auxiliary police” in checking vaccine passes in shops. It has also led to several cases of faked vaccine passes. Read Full Article >