January 20, 2022, 20:59

    Thousands protest in Vienna against mandatory vaccination

    Thousands protest in Vienna against mandatory vaccination

    VIENNA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Thousands of people took to the streets of Austria's capital on Saturday to protest against government plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all next month.

    "The government must go!" crowds chanted at one rally in central Vienna in what has become a routine Saturday event.

    Parliament is scheduled to vote next week on the issue, which has polarised the country as coronavirus cases surge.

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    In November, the government announced a fourth national lockdown and said it would make vaccinations compulsory for all Austrians, the first European Union country to do so.

    A poll for Profil magazine found 51% of those surveyed oppose making jabs mandatory from February, of whom 34% were against compulsory vaccination in general and 17% wanted to wait. The survey found 45% of Austrians favoured compulsory vaccination starting in February.

    The poll showed Chancellor Karl Nehammer's conservatives and the opposition Social Democrats in a dead heat for first place at 25%, followed by the right-wing Freedom Party, a strident critic of government policy, at 20%.

    The Greens, junior partner in the coalition, were even with the liberal Neos on 11%, while the vaccine-sceptical MFG party scored 6%.

    Health authorities have reported more than 1.4 million infections and nearly 14,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic broke out in early 2020.

    Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterReporting by Michael Shields; editing by David Evans

    Sourse: reuters.com

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