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Austrians Who Refuse COVID Vaccine Could Face Prison, Health Officials Warn

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On the latest episode of The Hill’s “Rising,” journalist and political commentator Kim Iversen discussed Austria’s strict vaccine mandate, and how the government gave people the “illusion of choice” before cracking down on unvaccinated.

By  Jeremy Loffredo

In the country with the “strictest vaccine mandates in the world,” Austrians who refuse the COVID vaccine could face serious penalties — including prison.

“Austria marks the first time a government has issued a mandate for all its citizens,” said journalist and political commentator Kim Iversen, on the latest episode of The Hill’s “Rising.”

Iversen told viewers the Austrian government “gave people the illusion of choice,” but because people didn’t get vaccinated voluntarily, “now they’re going to be forced into it.”

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced the mandate last week, telling the Austrian people:

“For a long time, perhaps too long, I and others assumed it would be possible to persuade Austrians to voluntarily get vaccinated, and that we could persuade them for their own protection and the protection of others, for their loved ones, friends and co-workers, but we must confront reality.”

As The Guardian reported:

“Those refusing to be vaccinated are likely to face administrative fines, which can be converted into a prison sentence if the fine cannot be recovered.”

Iversen said the vaccine policy was met with widespread backlash, with tens of thousands of Austrians taking to the streets to protest.

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