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Austria becomes first country in Europe to make Covid vaccinations compulsory

Austria's parliament voted on Thursday to introduce a strict COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults from February 1, the first of its kind in Europe.Lawmakers voted 137 to 33 in favor of the mandate, which will require all residents of Austria aged 18 and over to get vaccinated.Exemptions would be made for pregnant women, people who for medical reasons can't be vaccinated, or who have recovered from a coronavirus infection in the past six months.Officials said the mandate was necessary because vaccination rates still remained low in the small Alpine country.Speaking in Parliament, Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said the measure would help the country "escape the cycle of opening and closing down" in terms of virus restrictions.
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