Vaccine privilege is everywhere

Slowly but surely, the number of people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus is rising. Should these people be issued vaccination certificates to enable them to return sooner to a more normal way of life, as for example Denmark is planning to do? Perhaps even before other sections of the population have had the chance to be vaccinated? Press voices across Europe say solidarity should take precedence over individual freedom here.

More pros than cons

The Danish government wants to introduce digital coronavirus passports this spring. For Jyllands-Posten the move is correct in principle:

“From a liberal point of view, the introduction of a coronavirus passport documenting an individual’s test results and vaccinations is not unproblematic. In Denmark there is no compulsory vaccination, everyone is free to decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated – even if refusing can be seen as a lack of solidarity. … Even if pressure is now exerted on individuals to get vaccinated, for society the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. And just as individuals have the freedom to choose whether or not to be vaccinated, individual airlines, concert organisers and restaurants have the freedom to choose whether to place demands on those they let in.”

Don’t just liberate the octogenarians

Issuing vaccination passports for individuals would be unfair to young people, The Daily Telegraph points out:

“Imagine if we started issuing the passports tomorrow, allowing people greater freedoms from three weeks after receiving their first dose. We would suddenly have a country of liberated octogenarians while young people – who are unlikely to suffer serious harm from Covid anyway – remained in lockdown. … The only real way around this is to treat Britain as a single being, which qualifies for its vaccination passport as soon as a certain proportion of the population have had their jabs.”

 Don’t jeopardise solidarity

Der Tagesspiegel also disagrees with the idea of privileges for those who have been vaccinated:

“The goal is to get through an immensely exhausting and difficult period. We can only do this together, with coordinated lockdowns and relaxations, with solidarity between young and old, home office workers and bus drivers, the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated – even if it is not always one hundred percent fair. It also isn’t fair that smokers pay the same health insurance contribution as non-smokers. Yet no one is seriously trying to undermine such basic principles of the German health system.”

 New challenges for an old idea

Ukrinform’s North America correspondent Maksym Nalyvaiko sees a different problem with the introduction of coronavirus vaccination passports:

“Such passports could potentially give their owners the opportunity to travel, attend mass events and in general return to life as it was before the pandemic. While the idea itself is not new (similar documents were used during the global fight against polio and other diseases), modern technology and certain personal data protection requirements could pose a problem.”

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