Austria: Governor imposes lock-down for unvaccinated people

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Some 250,000 people in Austria have refused to have a childhood vaccination

The Austrian government has passed a law that forces all unvaccinated people aged between 12 and 64 to be put in a ‘lockdown’ during any outbreak of measles.

Most don’t receive the vaccination and it is partly due to their lack of knowledge about immunisation.

The outbreak caused by measles has affected 648 people in Austria and found one death.

The move is one of the toughest in Europe.

What is a lockdown?

The law means that healthy people will not be allowed to visit visitors or set foot within two kilometres of unvaccinated homes and places of work.

Anyone who does so will be banned from school, work, train, bus or taxi services.

What are the potential problems?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The unvaccinated are often mistakenly told that they are allergic to the MMR vaccine

Authorities are worried because many people don’t realise that they don’t need to be vaccinated against measles if they do not have the immune system to respond to it.

The national immunisation register shows that 120,000 people in Austria are unaccounted for because they do not show up for vaccinations on a regular basis.

Many of those are adults who are believed to have had a reaction to the MMR vaccine.

The current measles vaccination programme in Austria is not working very well because some people are mistakenly told that they have a problem with the vaccine or allergies.

Furthermore, health workers have been forced to travel for work in times of an outbreak and are afraid to have any contact with the unvaccinated population.

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