Even more pressure: unfair for the unvaccinated?

Although Europe has plenty of Covid vaccines, demand for them is dropping. Vaccination rates are stagnating and politicians are upping the pressure on those who haven't yet been vaccinated. Although the vaccinated can still infect others with the virus, they are almost completely exempt from testing, while the unvaccinated are forced to fork out for tests - as of Wednesday a negative test will be required even at filling stations in Slovenia.

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Primorske novice (SI) /

Restrictions at filling stations a disastrous policy

Slovenia's government is extending the "vaccinated, recovered or tested" rules to almost all areas of daily life, for example filling stations and shopping centres. This goes too far, Primorske novice admonishes:

“Vaccination supporters will back the idea, but they're already vaccinated anyway. Opponents of vaccination will continue to refuse the jab. Free spirits will protest against the poorly disguised coercion of the state apparatus, vaccination sceptics will continue to doubt. And many will keep their social lives to a minimum and try to survive. ... Businesses, workers in the cultural sector and tourism service providers will pay the price for the government's unsuccessful management of all the waves of the epidemic. ... All of our lives will take a turn for the worse.”

Delfi (LT) /

It's simple, just get vaccinated

Journalist Kęstutis Girnius sees no evidence of the rights of the unvaccinated having been restricted. He writes in Delfi:

“The unvaccinated aren't being discriminated against, their rights are not being artificially curtailed. They themselves are refusing to take the steps that would allow them to regain the rights that were restricted for everyone in the midst of the crisis. And it's not at all difficult to get them back: you just have to get vaccinated. ... If the health pass does divide society, everyone has the freedom to come down on the side of the 'chosen ones' because vaccination is forbidden to no one.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Too much pressure counterproductive

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung warns against pillorising the unvaccinated:

“Many want to bring their stubborn contemporaries to their senses, if necessary with threats and harsh measures. ... The matrix of conflicting interests is complicated. Nevertheless, despite all the impatience and annoyance with the unvaccinated, we should not crack the whip and abandon our liberal principles. ... It is more likely to have the opposite effect if politicians issue marching orders and call on people to hurry to the vaccination centres. ... Ethical achievements such as treating health data as confidential and protecting people's privacy [should be] preserved as much as possible. Clearly this includes not penalising anyone because of their vaccination status.”

Primorske novice (SI) /

Unacceptable treatment

Under pressure from medical professionals, Slovenia's health minister has announced that the rule according to which non-vaccinated people must take a rapid test before seeing a doctor, which was introduced only this week, should be adjusted. The government has overshot the mark in its efforts to get people to vaccinate, criticises Primorske novice:

“This is a two-edged sword. It is irresponsible to make people feel even more insecure in these times. If a red cloth is held in front of people's eyes all the time, sooner or later they will run out of patience and it will be the government's fault if they all take to the streets. Attempts to force people to get vaccinated are already adding to the defiance and reinforcing stubbornness. With this approach, we all lose.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Economy needs fixed rules for reliable planning

Fixed rules will get the economy moving again, writes Die Presse:

“The fact that a distinction is now being made between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated makes sense not only for medical reasons. It also gives large parts of the population the security of being able to make long-term plans again. They can book winter holidays, order theatre tickets or reserve a table at a restaurant. ... When the mood is positive and consumer-friendly, this is usually also reflected in growth. And that is why it is important for domestic entrepreneurs and their employees to have clarity about potential measures as early as possible.”

Primorske novice (SI) /

Covid rules unethical

In Slovenia, “vaccinated, recovered or tested” rules were extended this week. Now among other things non-vaccinated people can no longer see a doctor without taking a rapid test. Morally indefensible, rages Primorske novice:

“This contravenes the Hippocratic oath and universal human ethics, humanity and the guarantee of basic human rights. The experts are already pointing this out. Hopefully, under the weight of the arguments, the government will remove this controversial provision from the regulations. Because everyone who pays health insurance has the right to treatment anytime, anywhere.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Opposition to Green Pass led by the right

In Italy the obligation to carry a digital health pass known as the Green Pass is to be extended, and it will also apply in many workplaces. Opposition to the pass is clearly coming from the right, the philosopher Donatella Di Cesare criticises in La Stampa:

“Conspiracy theories, barely concealed denials and above all openly anti-Semitic statements reveal the character and bent of the anti-health pass movement. ... A glance at the Internet reveals yellow stars that have obscenely become a symbol for discrimination against those who refuse to be vaccinated, or the word "passport" with the double s written in such a way that it evokes the Nazi SS. ... The fight against the Green Pass is a reactionary fight, a fight of the right (if not of the far right).”

Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

Like suicide bombers

Unvaccinated people have the right to die of covid but not to take others with them, Hürriyet Daily News comments:

“Under normal circumstances, it requires people's own free decisions, with a few exceptions, whether they will receive medical treatment. ... But if it's a disease, that is, a pandemic that threatens all mankind, how free can individuals be? How much difference is there between a friend infected but ignorant of the fact he might infect others with that virus and a terrorist armed with a bomb and walks in the middle of a huge crowd of people? Is it really so different to spread the pandemic, cause people to die, pull the pin and kill dozens of people?”

Diena (LT) /

Next we'll be locking up the unvaccinated!

The Lithuanian government still has one or two ways to bring vaccination refusers to their senses, Diena jokes:

“There is nothing left but to impose new sanctions. For example banning the use of public transport without a vaccine pass as well as without a ticket. ... And hefty fines for those without a vaccine pass, so that instead of suffering losses the state makes a profit in the pandemic. The police should stop all cars carrying passengers. If there is an unvaccinated person in the car, the driver must also be fined - and the fine should be as high as for drunk driving. If that doesn't stop the anti-vaxxers, the government could have the door locks of all inhabitants replaced so that those who are unvaccinated or don't have enough anti-bodies are locked in.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

Vaccination crusaders must be tolerant

Society must refrain from treating the unvaccinated like lepers, the Irish Independent urges, referring to an article by a doctor who is reluctant to treat vaccination opponents suffering from Covid:

“What if the doctor had proclaimed zero sympathy for her fat patients, for smokers, for couch potatoes, for speeding drivers, for women with cervical cancer or for those living with HIV? So many diseases and accidents are caused by ourselves and the choices we make around how we live our lives. So many of them are avoidable. ... Tolerance and basic human decency are qualities we'll need in spades as we try to recover. There's a long road ahead, psychologically and economically, and the Covid crusaders need to cool down.”

Liberal (GR) /

Take a harder line against refusers

In Greece, unvaccinated workers in many economic sectors have to present a rapid test once or twice a week. In the leisure sector too, unvaccinated people can often only enter closed spaces after presenting a negative test. As of 13 September, rapid tests will cost ten euros for everyone except schoolchildren and people with symptoms. The unvaccinated are getting off far too lightly, professor of medicine Theodoros Vasilakopoulos criticises in Liberal:

“I think the measures for the unvaccinated are too mild. It costs them only 40 euros a month to maintain their right to carry the virus without being vaccinated and infect anyone they want. ... I am very afraid that in our country once again the rights of the minority, the unvaccinated, are stronger than the rights of the majority, i.e. the vaccinated.”

Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

By tolerating differences we become strong

The Aargauer Zeitung is confident that vaccination policy will not divide society:

“Regarding vaccination, the divides don't run through society as a whole but through families, associations, parties, companies, neighbourhoods. ... In the US things are different. America is divided in two, vaccinating and wearing masks is considered a political act: you are for the Democrats if you do it, while the Republicans - Trump included - hardly dare talk about vaccination anymore. Such polarisation is dangerous for any country. ... We have to learn to tolerate differences of opinion, to work them through and to profit from them. If we succeed in this as individuals - in our families and among our friends - it will also strengthen the cohesion of society.”