France implemented the requirement of immunization of health workers and became the last country to institute a measure in this style. That nation follows in the footsteps of others, such as Italy or Greece, which have already applied similar actions. But there are also some countries that have made vaccination mandatory to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The obligatory nature of vaccines, an always controversial measure, is growing in the world. The strong upturn in cases due to the spread of variants of the coronavirus (mainly the Delta, highly contagious) and a slowdown in vaccination campaigns have led some governments to take measures that require immunization for part of the population.
Despite dissemination actions to promote vaccination, skepticism in some countries has led their authorities to harden their positions and adopt measures that, although they do not establish compulsory vaccination, limit the capacity of action of people who have not been inoculated. France is the latest country to join that group.
A handful of nations have gone further, which decreed mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 for all those over 18 years of age.
France, in the footsteps of Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom
On July 12, French President Emmanuel Macron presented a series of measures and restrictions to face the advance of Covid-19 cases in the country and accelerate vaccination in the most skeptical nation in the world to immunization.
The action plan established that all health personnel must be vaccinated before September 15. Workers who are not immunized after that date will not be able to go to their jobs and will not be paid.
The other great measure was to extend the use of the health passport in multiple public places. As of July 21, the certificate will be necessary to enter theaters, cinemas and cultural spaces that gather more than 50 people, while in August this application will be expanded to bars, restaurants, shopping centers and public transport. The regulation had a rapid impact, with more than a million requests for vaccination shifts and a record of immunizations in a single day, with 792,339 doses applied.
These barriers to public life and demands on certain sectors of the population are spreading in other European countries. Greece, the same July 12, also decreed the mandatory vaccination for nursing home staff with immediate effect and for all health workers since September. In addition, only vaccinated people will be able to enter bars, cinemas, theaters and other closed spaces.
All of them had been anticipated by Italy, which implemented mandatory vaccination of health workers and pharmacists in April, under threat of termination of duties or suspension of salary for those who refuse.
In Russia, although the government of Vladimir Putin opposes mandatory vaccination, Moscow implemented in June the order that cafes, bars and restaurants only serve people who have a proof of vaccination, immunity or a negative test for coronavirus. It also launched a plan so that 60% of workers in the service sector are fully vaccinated before August 15.
Other nations are also going this way: the United Kingdom will require vaccination of employees of nursing homes for the elderly from October and Poland studies the mandatory vaccination for some high-risk people from August.
Similar measures begin to take effect outside Europe
In Australia, a country that has been characterized by the rigidity of its protocols against Covid-19, since June vaccination has been mandatory for high-risk elderly care workers in hotels implemented for quarantines. It has also demanded the immunization of Paralympic athletes who will participate in the Tokyo Games, considering that unvaccinated members could pose a health risk.
For its part, in May, Saudi Arabia announced that all public and private sector workers who wish to attend their face-to-face workplaces will have to be vaccinated, although without specifying as of what date the measure will be applied. In addition, from August 1, only vaccinated people will be able to enter government, private or educational establishments and use public transport.
Likewise, Kazakhstan announced on June 23 the requirement to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or to present weekly tests for people who work in groups of more than 20 people.
Whereas in Fiji vaccination is compulsory for all public and private sector workers. Public employees who have not received the first dose before August 15 will have to take leave and, if they do not have the complete vaccination schedule before November 1, they could be fired. Workers in the private sector, meanwhile, must have the first injection before August 1, with the risk of fines for companies that fail to comply.
Partial measures were also implemented in sectors of some countries. In San Francisco, the United States, the city’s 35,000 workers face possible sanctions or layoffs if they do not agree to vaccination soon.
For their part, three provinces of Pakistan have taken actions that punish the lack of vaccination. In Balochistan, unvaccinated people cannot enter public buildings, shopping malls or public transport since July 1. In Sind, officials who refuse to be vaccinated will not receive their salaries. And in Penjab they threaten with phone cuts to those who do not want to receive immunizations. Tough measures in a country with a very slow vaccination campaign and difficulties in accessing drugs.
Indonesia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, at the forefront of mandatory vaccination
In this type of action, Indonesia was a pioneer. Since February, the federal government has introduced compulsory vaccination, threatening fines or cuts in public services to people who refuse to receive the injection. Logically, there is not enough supply to vaccinate the entire population yet, but the measure seeks to avoid rejection of the drugs. Each local administration has the power to establish the sanctions it deems pertinent.
On Saturday, July 3, Tajikistan was strict in announcing the mandatory vaccination of the entire adult population (over 18 years of age), although the authorities did not explain how they will enforce the mandate in a country with a long-delayed vaccination campaign.
Turkmenistan joined on July 7, by providing mandatory vaccination of all those over 18 years of age, with exceptions for those who have medical contraindications to vaccination.
In a similar situation is the Vatican. Since February, the city-state has established possible penalties for employees who refuse vaccination without verifiable health reasons, including firing. A criticized measure, which the government of the Holy See had to clarify, clarifying that the decree sought a balance between health protection and respect for individual freedom of choice.
With Reuters and media