Has the Austrian Authorities Overreached?

On Friday, information broke a few nationwide lockdown in Austria, which comes into impact on November 22. This was coupled with a authorities choice to make getting vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 a authorized requirement by February 2022. The outcome was a flood of demonstrators descending onto the streets of downtown Vienna to protest this unilateral transfer. My sister and I have been amongst them.

We arrived at Rathausplatz simply after midday on Saturday and have been stunned to see a large turnout was already current. Particularly, it was attention-grabbing to see folks from all walks of life come collectively to voice their discontent with what many imagine to be an authoritarian choice by our authorities.

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There isn’t a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing restrictions have precipitated heated debate in Austria and around the globe. It has led to rifts inside households, arguments amongst mates and clashes between political opponents. Practically two years for the reason that outbreak of the virus, many people are left with questions unanswered over our inalienable rights, our livelihoods and the state of our future. What’s extra startling is how the narrative surrounding the coronavirus and its transmission has modified, leaving many skeptics questioning whether or not the Austrian authorities has our greatest pursuits at coronary heart.

While strolling round earlier than the march commenced, I seen many ladies holding indicators stating, “My Physique, My Selection.” Earlier than Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg’s press convention asserting the brand new restrictions and vaccine mandate, it appeared unfathomable {that a} democratic nation like Austria might pressure people to both get vaccinated or endure the implications. Beginning November 15, these unvaccinated have been ordered to remain at dwelling or incur a hefty high quality. This was a lockdown particularly for individuals who selected to not obtain a jab.

Regardless of Austria being a comparatively small nation, information of a nationwide lockdown and vaccine mandate despatched shivers all through the globe. Inventory markets around the globe didn’t take the information flippantly, with most indices tumbling significantly. My sister was stunned to listen to this. “How can the insurance policies of 1 small nation have such an affect on the worldwide market?” she requested. I replied saying that many have been fearful that Germany and different nations in Europe would comply with swimsuit and that this might create a ripple impact. 

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When the rollout of vaccines started firstly of 2021, many have been optimistic that it was the start of the tip for restrictions positioned on our lives and that a point of normalcy might return. Pharmaceutical corporations corresponding to Pfizer and Moderna touted their two-dose vaccines to be over 90% efficient in stopping the transmissibility of the virus, and governments have been fast to encourage folks to get their first jab instantly.

Nonetheless, because the coronavirus inevitably mutated into 1000’s of strains, as all viruses do, this efficacy fee was now in query. US President Joe Biden’s former senior adviser for COVID response, Andy Slavitt, acknowledged in July that the dominant Delta variant is way extra contagious than earlier strains and everyone will inevitably get it. Regardless of this, many governments around the globe argued {that a} vaccine was paramount in slowing down the unfold of the virus and that this was the soundest coverage to embrace.

But information collected by Johns Hopkins College appears to point in any other case. South Korea, which has vaccinated 80% of its inhabitants, has seen a substantial surge in COVID-19 circumstances. The scenario is analogous in the UK and Israel, which have comparably excessive percentages of their inhabitants vaccinated. A year-long research just lately revealed that these vaccinated are simply as prone to transmit the virus as those that are unvaccinated.

This begs the query: Are vaccines the answer in controlling the unfold of the coronavirus and stopping the worldwide pandemic? Additionally, why are so many governments adamant and unrelenting in getting their populations vaccinated? 


As a big group of protesters might be heard coming our approach on Vienna’s Ring Road, I might sense that the march was about to start. Police have been out in droves, with information shops reporting that 1,300 officers have been dispatched, many coming from rural components of Austria. I noticed plenty of flags being waved, together with Italian, Croatian, Slovenian, Polish and numerous Austrian ones. A powerful sense of solidarity was on show, and I couldn’t assist however discover that many, no matter their nationality, felt that this was their patriotic obligation to show up and communicate out in opposition to what they felt was an infringement on their primary rights.

The ambiance was positively charged. Regardless of the large crowds, folks have been cordial in making approach for others, and a few would strike up pleasant conversations with each other. The person who was tasked with giving a speech about why we have been protesting began talking a few two-tier system that the federal government had created and the division it has sown between folks. Demonstrators have been clapping and cheering in settlement, and I discovered myself nodding alongside to the purpose he had raised.

I recall listening to the time period “medical apartheid” a couple of months in the past, which I discovered apt in describing the present established order. It’s plain that those that have chosen to not get vaccinated have endured social penalties in numerous kinds. Beforehand, so as to go to a restaurant, museum or membership in Austria, one had to offer proof of vaccination, a latest restoration from COVID-19 or a damaging PCR/antigen take a look at. The latter has since turn out to be inadmissible. Establishments corresponding to universities don’t settle for proof of restoration from the virus both, generally known as the “1G” rule, for lectures. This is applicable to each college students and employees.

These measures are attention-grabbing contemplating that researchers in Israel discovered that antibodies ensuing from an infection last more in opposition to the Delta variant than these produced by two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. So, the query is what would be the subsequent step taken by our authorities? Will booster photographs turn out to be necessary in some unspecified time in the future?

Media Reporting

As my sister and I appeared again on the crowds, we noticed a sea of individuals. We couldn’t inform the place it began and the place it ended. I requested, “How many individuals do you suppose turned out right now?” She replied, “Round 8,000 to 10,000?” That gave the impression to be far fewer than what I believed — extra like 25,000. After a couple of hours and worn-out soles, we determined to go dwelling and make use of what was left of the weekend earlier than the lockdown begins. I arrived at my condo and seen my sister had despatched me a message. It was an article by Die Presse that stated over 40,000 folks attended the demonstrations within the capital.

To my dismay, the state broadcaster ORF, together with many nationwide and worldwide information shops, downplayed and dismissed this protest as one organized and “led by right-wing extremists and hooligans,” which was merely inaccurate and really unlucky to learn. This raises questions as to what motives or agendas these media organizations have and the damaging penalties of their reporting on folks’s belief within the veracity of their content material.

I couldn’t assist however take into consideration the Joe Rogan debacle over the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin and the way information broadcasters corresponding to CNN intentionally twisted data. Rogan, a widely known podcaster who selected to not get vaccinated, contracted COVID-19 a couple of months in the past and recovered. He took ivermectin, a drug prescribed by his physician to deal with early signs of COVID-19. Upon taking the drug, CNN and different shops spun the story and stated he took a “horse dewormer,” conveniently ignoring research which have offered adequate proof into the effectiveness of ivermectin on COVID-19 sufferers.

For the document, I’m not in opposition to anybody getting the jab; I obtained vaccinated this summer season to keep away from restrictions on my motion and actions. But, simply as it’s a particular person’s proper to get vaccinated, if somebody opts not to take action, that’s their alternative. If we enable the Austrian authorities to unequivocally decide what’s finest for us when the proof is altering continually, then I concern this may give the federal government a carte blanche to meddle in our personal affairs with out reservation. And we can have given them the mandate to take action.

That may be a terrifying prospect and have to be averted in any respect prices. For what’s extra sacred and private than our personal rights, well being and well-being?

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Truthful Observer’s editorial coverage.