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Explained: Which countries have made Covid-19 vaccines mandatory?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that it warns against vaccine mandates unless all other options have been exhausted.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 18, 2022 8:03:37 am
Covid-19, Covid vaccine, Covid vaccination, mandatory covid vaccination, US, Germany, Italy, Australia, Covid-19 vaccine mandate, World news, Indian express, Indian express news, current affairs, Indian express explainedA comment published in Nature Medicine last week notes, “It is often thought that mandates are effective because of the threat of sanctions, but evidence suggests that their efficacy also rests elsewhere." (File)

India’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign completed one year on January 16. On January 13, the government told the Supreme Court that it has not issued any guideline that urges vaccination without consent, or makes a vaccination certificate mandatory for any purpose. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that “no person can be forced to be vaccinated against their wishes”. In other words, India is not endorsing a vaccine mandate, which some countries are in favour of.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that it warns against vaccine mandates unless all other options have been exhausted.

A comment published in Nature Medicine last week notes, “It is often thought that mandates are effective because of the threat of sanctions, but evidence suggests that their efficacy also rests elsewhere. With vaccine mandates, the responsibility for monitoring vaccination status and reminding people of the necessity to take the vaccine lies with key people who can easily reach the public.”

It adds, “For mandatory vaccines for adults, there are no key people who are present in every adult’s day-to-day life. Enforcement could be done by employers, or alternatively by restaurants, bars and shops, as with the health pass.”

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Here’s a look at some of the countries and their outlook towards vaccine mandates:

Austria: From February onwards, vaccines will be mandatory from those who are 18 years and above. Only pregnant women and those who cannot get the vaccines on medical grounds will be exempted.

France: The French parliament approved a law on Sunday that will bar unvaccinated individuals from accessing bars, restaurants and some other venues. As of now, unvaccinated people can access these venues provided they show a recent negative test report.

If this bill becomes a law then unvaccinated people will have no choice but to get a vaccine pass or proof that they are vaccinated against COVID-19. This measure is being protested by members of the French public in places including Paris, Marseilles and Bordeaux.

Earlier this month, the president Emmanuel Macron said that he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated people.

Germany: A decision has not been taken yet, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently advocated for a vaccine mandate for all adults during a speech in parliament, according to DW.

Italy: In January, Italy announced that it was making vaccines mandatory for those individuals over the age of 50 years. According to a Reuters report, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government made vaccination mandatory for teachers and health workers already. Since October 2021, all employees have had to be vaccinated or show a negative test before entering the workplace.

Morocco: A vaccine certificate is required to access government buildings and visit places including bars, restaurants and hotels.

UK: The UK so far has only mandated vaccines for health and social care workers. Starting April 1, it will be compulsory for them to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

US: There are no vaccine mandates in the US, a country with one of the highest resistance to vaccines, also called “anti-vaxxers”. According to an article published by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, states in the US have the legal and constitutional authority to require that the people who live in that state be vaccinated, or to introduce a vaccine mandate.

According to the US Census Bureau’s experimental Household Pulse Survey (HPS) those who were unvaccinated against COVID in early December 2021 reported a few reasons for not getting the vaccine.

About half of the respondents said that they were concerned about possible side effects of the vaccine, about 42 percent reported that they don’t trust the vaccine, less than 10 percent reported not getting it because their doctor had not recommended it and about two percent reported not getting it because of difficulty in obtaining it.

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