COVID-19: How the rules for the unvaccinated vary around the world

The World Health Organization’s Europe chief has warned countries against making COVID jabs a legal requirement after Austria revealed it was keeping the unvaccinated in lockdown.

Hans Kluge said making vaccines a legal requirement risked damaging “public confidence and public trust” and are “an absolute last resort” after stricter regimes sparked protests across Europe.

As the continued threat of Delta and rise of the Omicron variant raise the prospect of more COVID-19 restrictions around the world, Sky News looks at some of the strictest vaccine policies.

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From 15 November, anyone unvaccinated in Austria has been banned from most public places, including restaurants, hotels, theatres and ski lifts.

Austria came out of a two-week national lockdown on 5 December, which was intended to curb the recent wave of infections affecting western Europe.

But the newly elected chancellor, Karl Nehammer, confirmed on 7 December that although society is opening up again, the unvaccinated will remain banned from the venues that had been closed and only allowed to leave home for essential reasons.


Before leaving office, former German chancellor Angela Merkel said her successor would look to introduce mandatory vaccinations to tackle huge case rates.

Describing it as a “lockdown of the unvaccinated”, the move would likely see people who have not been jabbed only allowed to leave home for work, school, and other essential reasons.

Germany’s ethics council is due to issue formal guidance, with a Bundestag (the German parliament) vote on legislation due by the end of the year.

Any legislation passed would come into effect in February.


COVID vaccinations have been mandatory across Indonesia since February.

In the capital city, Jakarta, people have been threatened with fines of up to five million rupiah (£270) if they are found outside their home without having had a jab.

They could also be denied government assistance or social services.


In January, Greece will make COVID vaccines mandatory for everyone over 60.

Under the new system, people who break the rules will be fined €100 (£85) for each month they remain unvaccinated.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described it as a “health fee… not a punishment” and said the funds would go towards hospital COVID wards.

Saudi Arabia

All public and private sector workers in Saudi Arabia have been subject to compulsory vaccinations since May.

People must also be vaccinated to enter any government or educational establishment, including schools, colleges or universities.


From late September, across the Netherlands, anyone over 13 has been required to carry a so-called “corona pass” that shows proof of vaccination for certain venues.

The corona pass covers restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, museums, indoor and outdoor festivals.


From 10 September, all US federal workers and contractors must have been vaccinated.

Private sector workers will either have to be tested weekly or have a vaccine from 4 January.

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President Joe Biden had been trying to impose the same rules on private firms of more than 100 employees, but the decision has been halted by the federal court pending the same date.

In New York City, from 27 December, all private sector workers will have to be vaccinated.


In October, Canada started putting unvaccinated federal employees on unpaid leave.

COVID vaccines have been required for all 338 Canadian MPs since 22 November.

Anyone travelling by plane, train or ship also has to show proof of vaccine status.


From mid-December in France, people over 65 are now required to show proof of a booster vaccine on their digital health pass to go into restaurants and cultural venues and to travel by train or plane.

Everyone’s had to show a COVID pass in these instances for some time.

All health care and care home workers have been required to have a first dose by 15 September, with 3,000 workers already suspended for failing to comply.

Since September in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, jabs have been compulsory for all adults, including tourists.


A “no jab, no job” policy was introduced in Fiji in August for all employees across the private and public sectors.

Public sector workers who fail to comply are placed on unpaid leave or eventually dismissed.

And private companies can face fines or be forced to stop their operations if enough staff remain unvaccinated.


As of 12 November, politicians in Latvia have been made to get a COVID vaccine or have their pay cut.

From 4 November, businesses have been allowed to fire employees who either refuse to get the vaccine or work remotely.


In Moscow, all workers with public-facing jobs have been subject to mandatory vaccinations since June.

Since 9 November in St Petersburg, COVID jabs have been mandatory for people over 60 and those with chronic illnesses.


Vaccines have been compulsory for public sector employees, including teachers, since October.

People who are not vaccinated are not able to enter some restaurants, sport, and other large-scale public events.

New Zealand

Teachers in New Zealand have been subject to mandatory vaccines since October.

People working in health care jobs or with disabled people must also be fully vaccinated.


Since 21 October, vaccine passes have been required for access to government buildings, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, and gyms in Morocco.

People also have to be vaccinated to travel by train or plane.

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