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Despite a spike in cases, the pandemic is still under control in Austria

Booster shots for everyone in Vienna, as Covid cases in Austria rise

Booster shots for everyone in Vienna, as Covid cases in Austria rise

Local authorities were able to administer the vaccine to everyone in nursing homes and retirement homes, now it is time to cast a wider net

Today, local authorities in Vienna announced they will be expanding the groups eligible for a third dose of the vaccine. Since September, medical officials have been giving out a booster shot to people over 70, vulnerable groups and people with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Now, officials have opened the offer up to everyone who has had their first round of jabs at lеast six months ago.

Infection rates in Austria are on the rise, as this week they reached levels not seen since 2020. At the same time, as a testament to the effectiveness of the inoculation campaign, hospitalisations and death rates are nowhere near what they were last winter.

It is important to note that a vaccination green-pass in the country is valid for one year; however, according to local medical experts, getting a booster shot is advised due to the more contagious nature of the Delta variant, now dominating infections.

The better-safe-than-sorry doses are especially advised for medical personnel, the elderly and anyone who has underlying health risks.

The roll-out so far

Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig was proud to announce that around 20% of people over 80 have already taken the booster shot. That is the equivalent of 50,000 doses, and he praised citizens for their responsible approach, making the Austrian capital a relatively safe zone.

At the same time, he urged those who were a bit less eager to get the vaccine, as this was the best way to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic does not overwhelm the healthcare system again. Vienna City Councilor for Health Peter Hacker explained that the population in nursing homes, retirement homes and homes for the disabled have already been vaccinated with the booster dose.

Furthermore, he iterated on the effectiveness of these measures, as Austria currently has the highest infection rates since 2020: “How well the booster vaccination works can be seen just by looking at our hospitals. Because none of the intensive care patients is currently over 80 years old. This fundamentally differentiates the situation in our hospitals from previous corona waves.”

The rest of the country

Austria’s national health authorities do not yet have a definitive line on booster shots. The last official statement on the matter was back in August, and it simply states that there is not a definitive consensus on the matter, thus the question will be answered in the future.

It points out that, as far as we know, the Covid vaccine is effective for 9 months. At the same time, federal states in the country have opted to take matters into their own hands and all of them now offer booster shots. According to numbers from mid-October, just under 80,000 people have taken their booster shots across the country.

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