The (digital) vaccination certificate – is Austria getting back to the (new) normal?

How is the vaccination sequence regulated in Austria?

The Austrian vaccination plan provides for prioritisation according to risk groups and is divided into three phases:

Phase 1:

  • Residents of retirement homes and nursing homes
  • Persons ≥ 80 years old
  • Personnel in the health sector
  • Particularly high risk persons (regardless of age) with pre-existing conditions

Phase 2:

  • Persons aged 65 to 79 years, classified according to age and health risks
  • Persons at high risk under 65 years of age with pre-existing conditions
  • Persons in close contact with pregnant women
  • Personnel in schools and childcare facilities
  • Selected employees with direct contact with people

Phase 3:

  • Residents in cramped/precarious living conditions
  • Persons with absolutely necessary cross-border travel activity due to family/professional obligations
  • Personnel in employment relationships or fields of activity that favours virus transmission
  • Personnel for maintaining public administration and jurisdiction, public security and order
  • Persons with regular contact with customers or people

Phase 3 is completed with the vaccination of all persons in Austria who would like to be vaccinated. Austria is currently in phase 2.

Should there be special rights for "vaccinated persons" in Austria?

For a long time, the Austrian government has stood against conferring any type of special rights on immunised persons. However, constitutional lawyers have pointed out for some time that the legal basis for special rights would be given only when it is ensured that vaccinations protect against transmissions. In the amendment of the Covid-19 Measures Act and the Law on Epidemics, it is now stated for the first time that a vaccination can also be "evidence of only a low epidemiological risk". This has been the case until now exclusively for tested persons and also for those who have already had a COVID-19 infection. With this amendment, freedom for vaccinated persons could come soon from a purely legal perspective.

Is the (digital) vaccination certificate coming to Austria?

Austria wants to introduce a vaccination certificate even before the European model. As recently announced, this will already be implemented nationwide beginning in April 2021. In a first phase, the digital "Green Pass" should only be used to document PCR tests. In stage two, vaccinated and recovered persons should then also be able to prove their immunisation by means of a QR code.

Autor: Franz Mittendorfer