By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
In Austria, Parliament prepared to vote for a government proposal this week that fines adults of 18 years and older up to 3,600 euro ($4,110) if they refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The plan was drawn up while a now-lifted lockdown was imposed in November, amid concern that Austria’s vaccination rate is comparatively low for Western Europe.
As of Sunday, 71.6 percent of Austria’s population of 8.9 million was considered fully vaccinated, official figures showed.
The Alpine nation was weighing the legislation Monday after elsewhere in Europe, France’s Parliament approved the government’s latest measures to tackle COVID-19.
France’s legislation will require people to have a vaccination certificate to enter public places like restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and long-distance trains.
However, the vaccine pass has been contested by anti-vaccine protesters and those concerned about the growing influence of governments.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to seek a second term in an April election, told Le Parisien newspaper this month that he wanted to “irritate unvaccinated people.”
He said he sought to make their lives so complicated that they would get the COVID vaccine.
However, despite these threats, thousands of anti-vaccine protesters demonstrated in Paris and some other cities over the weekend against the law.
Several thousand also gathered in Budapest, Hungary, against stricter government vaccine policies. With about 40,000 reported deaths on a population of nearly 10 million, Hungary is among the countries with the highest reported coronavirus death tolls.
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