Austria Introduces Its Own Homegrown Vaccine – Schnaps

DATELINE Vienna, April 1, 2021: Inländerrum, Obstler, Marillenbrand and Zirbenschnaps supposedly found just as effective as AstraZeneca – and so much tastier!

After the humiliating failure to secure enough doses for Austria’s modest needs – so far only 5.55% fully vaccinated – Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has decided to take a pass on the goodwill of fickle foreigners and show some Chutzpe. “Well, I tried blackmailing Brussels; Bibi is taking his sweet time and even my good pal Vovochka isn’t moving fast enough. So I figured, it’s time to show the world just how innovative and disruptive this great nation can be!”

Luckily, it turns out that Austria, this Insel der Seligen (island of the blessed) was sitting on the cure all along – just like Dorothy and her ruby slippers. Researchers at the university of Innsbruck have established that, consumed without moderation, popular local spirits like Marillenbrand, Inländerrum and Zirbenschnaps actually stop the COVID-19 virus cold in its contagion. This astonishing and totally true fact was discovered during the post mortem of the infamous Ischgl outbreak, which Dr. Volker Echt, the Uni Innsbruck’s head of epidemiology, realized was, in fact, due to après ski revelers not drinking enough.

Schnaps to the Rescue

“The more exposed you are to the coronavirus, the more Schnaps you need to maintain your immunity,” Dr. Echt explained. “With so many patient zeros swarming the Hütten, you would have had to down a dose every ten seconds continuously; and not even Danish kids on semester break can keep that up for more than an hour or so.”

This fortuitous development was immediately embraced by Kurz’s dynamic cabinet: As Austria had been unwittingly manufacturing the cure for centuries, it was rather easy to scale up production of Marillenschnaps in the Wachau or Obstler at the Mautner-Markhof distilleries in Simmering. The goal is to not just immunize Austria but the whole world – confirming once and for all that Kurz is a gift to humanity, as he has always maintained.

In addition, no extra research or testing is necessary, as every Austrian is familiar with the common side effects of double vision, splitting headaches, and awful lapses of judgement. “If you feel terrible even before the hangover sets in, it just means it’s working,” Kurz added helpfully.

International reactions have so far been overwhelmingly positive. The WHO is currently begging Austria to share its test data on Zirbenschnaps, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating the opening of a Stroh 80 factory near Haifa and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is leveraging his good working relationship with our platinum chancellor to finalize an “oil for Obstler” deal. The EU has reminded Austria to remember “European solidarity,” with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offering a full apology for her attitude and a signed statement by Angela Merkel declaring Kurz the “officially the best Chancellor ever.”

In a magnanimous gesture, Austria has even agreed to supply discount vaccines free of charge to non-qualifying buyers, with Belarus to receive 10 million doses of Leibwächter, “as they really need it over there,” according to Kurz.

The Immunization Game

Of course, there is no silver lining without a cloud: France has decided to plagiarize Austrian brilliance by promoting their own cures Armagnac, calvados and pastis, which are, of course, far inferior despite their pretentious names.   

This revolutionary scientific discovery came as no surprise to Central Europeans, however, who have been using similar remedies for myriad ailments for centuries. In fact, our great leader was first made aware of the medicinal properties of some of Austria’s favorite products during a trip to the Wild West Balkans.

Kurz announces Austria has fixed the pandemic to the UN General Assembly, with his usual humility and magnanimity (c) BKA / Dragan Tatic

“I was back down there to do my symbolic re-closing of the Balkan refugee route when I noticed that the natives tend to treat everything with a miracle drug they call šljivovica. It really is a wonder of a “can-do” attitude  – rather than wait for the government to give them a handout, they simply down a dose of this cure-all and everything is fine! Or at least they no longer care about their problems, which is also useful.” 

Apparently, the rejuvenating power of šljivovica knows no limits: “This Serbian bus driver guy in Erdberg told me that if you mix the stuff with brake fluid, it even kills AIDS!” But naturally, Austria’s Boy Wonder opted for a local equivalent. “Obviously, I hate sharing credit, so I chose a cure entirely ‘Made in Austria’ – just like our awesome FFP-2 masks I made everyone wear.” At this point, the vibrant young Kurz chuckled. “Had I known what a hit this would be, I would have never bothered with Hygiene Austria!”

Drink Till You Drop

One considerable weakness of the new vaccines, however, is the dosage: While Biontech-Pfizer and Moderna use a two-dose delivery system and Johnson & Johnson opted for a single shot, Austria’s new formulae must be administered multiple times and regularly refreshed – preferably every day after (or even during) meals.

Pope Francis I blesses Chancellor Kurz, calling him “a gift of the Lord that just keeps giving” (c) BKA / Dragan Tatic.

However, Kurz sees that as a feature: “You could simply turn it into a game: Every time the Green party forgets it’s actually part of the government – re-inoculate! Whenever Finance Minister Gernot Blümel denies any wrongdoing whatsoever or even owning a laptop – re-inoculate! If a pandemic measure is deemed unconstitutional by the supreme court – re-inoculate! And if Rudi [Anschober] once again stresses how critical the next two weeks will be … well, you may need the entire bottle for that one.”

Still, while these new medications are set to completely change the game for Austria and the whole world, Kurz – as an intrepid chancellor with a vision – merely sees them as a stopgap in the ongoing fight against the global pandemic: “Maybe voters will stay loaded until we finally find more of the real stuff. Or until after the next election. Whichever comes first!”

Binu Starnegg
Manila born, Brooklyn bred and a longtime resident of Vienna, Binu Starnegg is currently managing editor for Metropole, where he completes myriad tasks with style and aplomb. Photo: Visual Hub

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