Is compulsory vaccination a good idea?

A number of European states have already taken the first steps in the direction of privileges for those who have been vaccinated and even compulsory vaccination, provoking major protests. Europe's press discusses whether compulsory vaccination is fair and what the alternatives could be.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Dolce vita only after the jab

Instead of compulsory vaccination for all, those who refuse to get vaccinated should face more radical restrictions, Gazeta Wyborcza argues:

“The government should deprive those who are not vaccinated of the sweet taste of life: they should not be able to visit concerts, theatres, public transport, churches, schools, shooting ranges and bars, shopping malls, medical facilities, cafés, amusement parks, and cultural centres. And if that doesn't work, then perhaps another lockdown should be announced, exempting vaccine opponents from government aid financed by the taxpayers. ”

Der Spiegel (DE) /

Bring on the vaccination bonus

Der Spiegel calls for the hesitant to be lured with cash instead:

“With 100 euros per completed vaccination cycle, a lot could be achieved. Especially among young and economically weaker people, this financial argument is likely to carry weight. Wait a minute', many will now think. And what about all those who have already been vaccinated? Don't worry, of course they should also get the hundred. That would cost the state a lot of money - an 85 percent vaccination rate would require a good seven billion euros - but it would still be far cheaper than spending another year in constant fear of lockdown. Because that fear also paralyses economic recovery.”

Lrytas (LT) /

Free trips to the morgue

Lrytas makes an unusual proposal:

“The opponents of vaccination should be given free guided tours to morgues. ... To the places where autopsies are performed on those who died of coronavirus. With appropriate exhibits, one could show how Covid-19 damages the lungs, pancreas, liver and other organs. ... And if that's not enough, live broadcasts from hospitals should be made (under strict data protection guidelines) - showing how a person dies in respiratory distress without any doctor being able to help them. Macabre? Of course. But it's just as hypocritical to hide behind the Lithuanian flag and demand the freedom to infect others with the coronavirus - or the stupidity bacillus.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Don't put even more pressure on the young

Britain is discussing proposals to only allow students who can prove they have been vaccinated to attend lectures. The Daily Telegraph is against the idea:

“A group that has been hardest hit by the lockdown over the past 16 months, yet is less likely to contract Covid badly than older people, is facing further constraints on their lives. ... The mooted extension of a vaccine requirement to spectators at large sporting events, such as football matches, or night clubs is one thing. People may feel aggrieved, but it is not essential that they go to either. For students, however, this is tantamount to forced vaccination since their only other option is to give up their courses.”

Real News (GR) /

Democracy is at stake

Compulsory vaccination undermines democracy, lawyer Makis Tzifras writes in Real News:

“Fear is a human emotion and is triggered not only in relation to the virus, but also in relation to undesirable side effects of the vaccines. The argument that such cases are statistically few in number does not say much. Is there a risk or isn't there? Can those in power break the will of the many who are afraid of vaccination? If not through compulsory vaccination, then through the fear of being dismissed or excluded? What is the future of democracy if such measures are taken?”

Deutsche Welle (RO) /

The state must guarantee equality

The Romanian Service of Deutsche Welle considers privileges for vaccinated people to be the wrong approach:

“The task of the state is to create the framework conditions for people to live in dignity and safety and not to force people to stay alive come hell or high water. The state must also not allow people to be divided into different categories with different basic rights. ... In a democracy, one does not build on coercion, polarisation and discipline, but on social and individual responsibility, education and conviction, with the freedoms and equality of everyone guaranteed.”

Denik (CZ) /

Obligations rather than privileges

The Slovakian parliament has already passed a law granting vaccinated people such advantages to vaccinated people. Deník complains that this undermines human rights:

“In the centre of Europe and even at the heart of the EU, citizens are being divided into category A and category B before the law. This can only be described as apartheid. ... This violation of human rights springs from the noblest of intentions. The authorities want to protect the old and the sick from a murderous disease. ... Even if it sounds paradoxical, compulsory vaccination is much fairer from a human rights point of view. Parliament would do better to impose obligations on people by law. These apply to everyone and thus do not divide society.”

Népszava (HU) /

Infection or starvation

Compulsory vaccination is the lesser evil, Népszava concurs:

“Despite all the worries and mistrust, the idea of compulsory vaccination is gaining ground worldwide. Because with a renewed lockdown, many of the battered economies risk having their citizens fall victim either to infection or starvation. ... One could paraphrase Winston Churchill's legendary argument for democracy: Compulsory vaccination is the worst solution - except for all those other solutions that have been tried from time to time.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

A way to convince more people

Handelsblatt makes the case for compulsory vaccination with certain exceptions:

“The state introduces a general vaccination obligation for adults, but anyone who wants to will be able to forego vaccination without much trouble. This would increase the vaccination rate by ten percent, because it would reach part of the population that cannot be reached by other means. But those who refuse must live with the consequences. That means continued restricted access to restaurants and public facilities. Some may see this as encroachment by the state, but it cannot be that the fare dodgers of the vaccination policy expose the majority of the sensible ones - especially families - to a risk that would otherwise be far smaller.”