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May 25
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Austria has approved Europe's first COVID-19 vaccination mandate for all adults despite widespread protests.

In a 137-33 vote, the Austrian Parliament approved a measure that would require all adult citizens to be vaccinated from February 1, according to the Associated Press.

Starting in March, during routine checks, the police will ask citizens to confirm that they have been vaccinated. If they fail to prove or do not confirm in writing that they have been vaccinated, they face a $685 fine.

Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that if the vaccination rate is still too low, reminders will be sent to the unvaccinated and they will be given mandatory vaccinations. If a person misses it and remains unvaccinated, they face a fine of more than $4,000.

Currently, 73 percent of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated.

According to the AP, the only exceptions to this mandate are those who have had COVID-19 in the past six months, those who are medically released, and pregnant women.

Lawmakers also announced that $1.59 billion will be allocated to encourage vaccination, such as running a vaccine lottery and rewarding cities with high vaccination rates, the AP notes.

The official vote to accept the mandate came after thousands of citizens protested the move for weeks.

Austria has become the first country to require vaccination of all persons over 18 years of age, regardless of their work. Other countries require mandatory vaccination for certain industries.

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