BRUSSELS – As Italy imposed Europe’s strictest vaccine requirements on Friday, a patchwork of measures across the rest of the continent reflect those countries’ domestic politics and potential protests against such measures.
In more than a dozen of the 27 EU countries, some form of Covid pass is often required to enter indoor public places or large events or travel long distances as officials try to vaccinate more people and allow Tried to stop the new one. waves of infection.
In a move similar to Italy, Slovenia last month began requiring most employees to submit vaccination certificates, proof of recovery from Covid-19 or negative coronavirus test results at least once a week. Customers visiting grocery stores, pharmacies and emergency medical services are exempt, but the overall vaccination rate for adults has risen from 45 percent to more than 58 percent.
In France, which on Friday began charging unaffiliated people for Covid-19 tests, vaccinations are mandatory for health workers, and more than 3,000 who remain unaffiliated have been suspended.
Health passes are also required to sit in restaurants, bars and cafes, to enter cultural venues such as museums, theaters and concert halls, and to attend sporting events. And similar measures are in place in Austria, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Portugal, while the Brussels region in Belgium began implementing a “Covid Safe Ticket” on Friday.
Germany and Greece also require a health pass for hospitality settings.
The requirements have attracted some protests, including large protests this summer in France, where anti-vaccination sentiments run high. But millions of residents have been vaccinated since the announcement, and public protest has waned.
As vaccination rates have risen, other EU countries have removed such mandates. Portugal, where 86 percent of people have been fully vaccinated, this month removed the requirements for a digital certificate or negative test for dining in restaurants. In Denmark, where 75 percent of people have been fully vaccinated, authorities last month stopped requiring a Covid pass in nightclubs.
The picture is completely different in the past. Despite rising new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, most Eastern European countries do not require a Covid-19 certificate to enter public places.
Most governments in the region have almost completely relaxed their coronavirus restrictions this summer, and there is little hope they will introduce new measures amid fears of a backlash from a frustrated public.
“I don’t see governments in Eastern Europe implementing vaccine incentives or requirements,” said Vesella Cherneva, deputy director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “It would be very politically sensitive.”
One exception is Slovenia, where officials said the only way to “keep life back to normal” was through a health pass.
“The only other option,” Health Minister Janez Poklukar told reporters last week, “was a complete lockdown, which none of us can imagine now, which none of us want and which we as a society. As can’t stand it anymore.”