Covid pass: a blessing or a curse?

Despite mass protests, France's government has gone ahead with the introduction of the health passport. Since last week, the Pass Sanitaire is now also compulsory if you want to go to restaurants or shopping centres or use planes and long-distance trains. Some states like Italy had already taken this step before, others are still hesitating. And not all media are convinced that it is the right thing to do.

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Contrepoints (FR) /

The end of freedom

For Contrepoints, the Pass Sanitaire violates principles of the French Republic:

“This passport belongs to a country where rights are not for the people but for the vaccinated. Among the words currently occupying people's minds, the word freedom keeps cropping up, while the words equality - at least in terms of law - and fraternity have long been abandoned.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Testing is more important

The growing number of vaccine breakthroughs and the risk of infection, even for the fully vaccinated, make a mockery of the debate about vaccination passes, finds The Daily Telegraph:

“A combination of new variants and fading immunity has left those early hopes of 95 per cent protection in tatters. As Professor Neil Ferguson put it only yesterday, '92 per cent of adults may have antibodies at the moment, but only about half of those are protected against infection, so there's a lot of transmission going on between vaccinated people.' .... It represents a hole under the water line for vaccine passports. If you are worried about catching Covid at a gathering, which would you rather: that everybody has done a quick test at the door or that everybody presents vaccination papers?”

Expressen (SE) /

Do not subordinate the majority to the minority

Expressen criticises the approach of the Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who does not want any easing of restrictions for vaccinated people for the time being:

“It is high time to make a distinction between those who assume responsibility and get vaccinated and those who refuse. Start using the vaccine passport not just for foreign travel, but in everyday life. Show your vaccination certificate and have a beer at the bar. But so far, Anders Tegnell has been critical of this approach. There are 'ethical problems', he says ... Sure, requiring people to be vaccinated to go to the pub makes the shot less voluntary, but maintaining the same restrictions for everyone even though almost the entire adult population is protected from a serious disease also poses major ethical problems.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Effective and not all that unpopular

In France we can see that the advantages of the Covid pass and compulsory vaccination outweigh the disadvantages, Krytyka Polityczna notes:

“While more than 100,000 people turned up to demonstrate against the health passport, just under four million signed up to be vaccinated a week after Macron's announcement. It remains to be seen how the passport will work in everyday life and whether the announced boycott will grow, but we can already see that the health passport has been successful in promoting a willingness to be vaccinated. And that was one of the main reasons for its introduction.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Not the way to win the fight against the pandemic

But Neatkarīgā says neither the introduction of a health passport nor compulsory vaccination are effective weapons against the virus:

“We must demand long-term solutions from our leaders - a strategy for living with this epidemic. 'Living with' is the key phrase, because 'beating it' will not happen so fast. For that reason excessive pressure or even worse, the division of people into 'right, i.e. vaccinated' and 'wrong, i.e. non-vaccinated' is completely pointless. What's more, things could also go wrong if we insist on compulsory vaccination for doctors, teachers and social workers by October 1. Because not everyone will be able to meet that deadline. Perhaps we should already be looking for another vaccine that's more effective against all variants.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Vaccination has become a religion

This debate has turned into a kind of religious war in which opponents are treated like heretics, complains philosopher Giorgio Agamben in La Stampa:

“What is most striking in the discussions about the green pass and the vaccine is that the reasons perceived as being against the pass are not only not taken at all seriously but are rashly dismissed or even the subject of sarcasm and insults. One could say that the vaccine has become a religious symbol that, like any other creed, acts as a dividing line between friend and foe, the saved and the damned. How can a thesis claim to be scientific and non-religious if it rejects any scrutiny of dissenting theses?”

Azonnali (HU) /

State overstepping its power again

The fight against the pandemic must not be used as an argument for creating an all-powerful state, warns Azonnali:

“The pandemic waves at the beginning of 2020 and in the winter of 2021, which put hospitals to the test, are a reality. But the fact that the state apparatuses are now resorting to all the already familiar instruments of the 'war' on terror simply to defeat the pandemic quickly and completely, and that they are now using these instruments even more invasively against vaccination sceptics or those who for one reason or another have not yet been vaccinated cannot be accepted.”