Several European countries have implemented the vaccination card against COVID-19 for months. Has it been efficient in reducing the cases of contagion of the coronavirus?.
This week, Colombia joined the list of countries that will begin to request the vaccination card against COVID-19 to enter different events and sites. Photo: LatinAmerican Post
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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Leer en español: ¿Qué tanto ha funcionado el carné de vacunación contra la COVID-19?
This week, Colombia joined the list of countries that will begin to request the vaccination card against COVID-19 to enter different events and sites. This measure was taken by the Colombian health authorities with the intention of increasing the vaccination rate and reducing infections among the unvaccinated. This means that for any non-essential service, it will be required to show the vaccination card. This does not apply to be able to use public transport, go to schools or supermarkets.
But Colombia is not the only one, nor is it the first country to implement a similar measure. For months Europe has already been asking for what they call a COVID passport that is necessary to eat inside restaurants (it can be ordered to take away if you are not vaccinated), go to bars, restaurants, theaters, museums or cultural or sporting events.
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This measure has been used in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. But how long has the measure worked?
One of the first to implement the green passport (Grüner Pass). In principle, it was used for vaccinated people, recovered from COVID-19 or people with a PCR or antigen test no longer than 48 or 24 hours. The measure is exercised in large numbers and it is not possible to enter bars or discos without one. However, recently, this small alpine country took an additional measure in the face of the increase in contagion cases. Also from this week, he sent to quarantine all citizens who are not vaccinated. According to the Austrian Ministry of Health, infections among unvaccinated (more than 35% of the entire population do not have all the doses), have caused the cases to increase, this added to a winter that is coming and that arouses fear of an increase in respiratory diseases.
Another case that also has the COVID passport as a measure is in Spain. However, the vaccination rate is higher than the Austrian (79.1%, according to Our World in Data), but with very little compliance to the extent. This suggests that in Spain the measure of requiring the vaccination card is not being complied with, but the immunity acquired by the majority of people is greater.
For now , Spain manages figures much lower than the peaks it has had, but the risk of a re-growth is not ruled out.
The European superpower is also going through difficult times when it comes to contagion. A neighbor to the north of Austria, she sees how daily cases break records since the start of the pandemic. However, they also carry a lower vaccination rate than other countries. At the moment only 67% of Germans have the complete vaccination schedule.
An atypical case to these previous ones is that of the Netherlands (Holland). Despite having a vaccination rate of 72%, according to Our World on Data, it has also been registering unprecedented numbers in terms of contagion. For this reason, they are thinking of implementing more severe measures against the unvaccinated, even returns to strict quarantines are not ruled out.
According to figures and statements by European experts, the current upswing in the pandemic on the continent has a common factor, the unvaccinated. As long as the number of vaccinated people does not increase, the COVID passport or any other measure will not be severely efficient in the contingency against the vaccine. So, although it is true that the requirement of the vaccination card is an incentive for skeptics to make the decision to get vaccinated, European countries have shown us that it is not enough.
Other countries that have gone further in restrictive measures against anti-vaccines are the cases of Latvia or Singapore. The European country, (with a vaccination rate of just 59%) entered quarantine again, but anti-vaccine politicians will not be able to vote, or attend debates, or receive a salary. While the small Asian country determined that as of December, unvaccinated people will have to bear the full expense of their medical services.