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Vaccine pass against Covid-19: overview in Europe
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Vaccine pass against Covid-19: overview in Europe
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While the Covid-19 pandemic is growing rapidly in Europe, the French government now wishes to introduce a vaccination pass, limiting access to a certain number of public places to people who have been vaccinated or cured. A formula already applied in several European countries, not without controversy.

The health pass against Covid-19 soon to be obsolete? Introduced at the beginning of June to “help the French to return to a normal life while minimizing the risk of contamination”, this sesame, which conditions access to places of leisure and culture but also to cafes, restaurants and even transport long distance, could soon be replaced by a vaccination pass.

With this new formula, the presentation of a test of less than 24 hours will no longer be an option; only proof of vaccination or cure will now be accepted. This health reform, which the government hopes to see come into force from mid-January, is already being tested by several European countries including Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Overview.

Germany: a regionalized system

On November 18, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a tightening of health measures to fight more effectively against Covid-19 while curbing hospital pressure to avoid overflows. Germany then introduced the 2G rule, for “geimpfte” (vaccinated) or “genesene” (cured), the equivalent of the vaccination pass. But this rule does not apply uniformly throughout the territory: each region must resort to it when the hospitalization threshold exceeds three Covid-19 patients per 100,000 inhabitants.

When the hospitalization rate exceeds six patients per 100,000 inhabitants, an even more restrictive formula is then applied: 2G +, which provides, in addition to proof of vaccination or cure, an antigen test of less than 24 h or PCR negative less than 48 h.

This system applies to access restaurants, bars, hotels, cultural activities or even sports halls. The 3G rule, which requires proof of vaccination, cure or a negative test (“getestet”), applies to the workplace.

Austria, Estonia, Czech Republic: national vaccination pass

Forced into containment at the end of November to stem the explosion of Covid-19 cases, Austria has since imposed strict health measures to prevent a new rebound in contamination. Since December 12, the start of deconfinement, the 2G rule has applied nationwide: only people vaccinated or cured during the last six months can visit restaurants, hotels, shops and local services as well as sport. Wearing the FFP2 mask, which offers superior protection, is also compulsory.

As in Germany, people without a valid 2G certificate can still go to work, provided they test negative. For the rest, they are required to stay at home except in exceptional cases (essential purchases, family obligations, health emergency, etc.).

Several European countries including Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Ireland or Malta have also opted for a national vaccination pass. Note that this is required from the age of 12 in some states (Malta or Estonia), 15 (Austria) or sometimes only beyond 18 (Germany).

Contested measure

Since the introduction of the 2G system in Germany, demonstrations have taken place across the country against this measure deemed liberticidal by some of the citizens, sometimes bringing together several thousand demonstrators as in Hamburg and Düsseldorf on December 18.

If opposition to health measures is a reality in Germany, it is far from reflecting the opinion of the majority of citizens according to the correspondent of France 24, Emmanuelle Chaze. “Of course, this measure is a source of frustration after two years of pandemic (…) but when the Germans are questioned, a vast majority supports the government’s measures. A third of Germans would even like these measures to go further, ”emphasizes the journalist.

In Austria too, the drastic measures put in place by the government arouse the anger of part of the citizens, strongly mobilized on social networks as in the street. In mid-December, several tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the capital, Vienna, to denounce the health restrictions and in particular the vaccination obligation. An opposition certainly in the minority, but now federated into a political party: the Menschen Freiheit Grundrechte MFG, “Humanity, freedom, fundamental rights”, created in February 2021 in reaction to health measures, and which has since managed to win several elections regional.

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