Countries where the COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory
Although the pandemic subsides, waves of COVID-19 infections continue to occur. Experts say that only high percentages of vaccination among the population can stop the delta variant. For that reason, Italy is the first democratic country to openly consider the possibility of compulsory vaccination.
The way in which the delta variant (explosively contagious) has caused new waves throughout the planet, has led many governments to consider mandatory vaccination in order to achieve the desired "herd immunity" of 90% of the population.
Both the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, and the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, have been in favor of the mandatory vaccine. They have sparked a political debate within the European Union.
At the moment, only three countries require their population to get vaccinated. Which ones are they?
The first is Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic where everyone over 18 has been ordered to get vaccinated.
This country has barely had cases of COVID-19 and wants to shield itself from infections through a mandatory vaccination for adults.
In the Vatican, the vaccine against COVID-19 is also mandatory.
And here ends the short list of countries where citizens are forced to get vaccinated.
But there are many others where, in fact, if you are not vaccinated, you cannot perform many activities.
For starters, traveling through the European Union and other countries in the world is difficult without the so-called "Covid passport." To enter some destinations, depending on the pandemic moment you experience (greater or lesser incidence of Covid), a vaccination certificate is required.
You can also do a PCR hours before you depart and, of course, show a negative result at the border.
The passport doesn't just work as a key to enter a country. It can also be required in bars, museums and other public places. France is the ultimate example of restrictions on the unvaccinated: you need to have a record of vaccination or a negative PCR result to enter certain public places. Other countries are working on similar restrictions.
Image: Andrea García / Unsplash
As the world is shielding itself against COVID-19, governments seek ways to ensure that the entire population is vaccinated. In Saudi Arabia, for example, you cannot enter any official building, including schools, unless you are vaccinated. In practice, therefore, vaccination is mandatory in Saudi Arabia, unless you lead a life of social isolation.
And then there are nations that do not even discuss vaccination, because they don't need to. See China, the epicentre of the global pandemic and a place where the population is absolutely convinced of the importance to get immunized.
Many countries require vaccination for health personnel and those who work in residential homes. This is the case for France, United Kingdom, Russia, Greece, and others. Some of these countries are still debating what to do with those who refuse to be vaccinated: should they be punished or fired?
Another interesting way to make vaccination compulsory - the capitalist way - is that of companies requiring their employees to be vaccinated. In some countries, this practice still entails legal problems, but in the United States examples abound.
The list of companies that require (in one way or another) the vaccination of their employees is extensive in the United States. It includes Facebook, BlackRock, United Airlines, Ford, Google, and Goldman Sachs.
They don't do this for altruistic motives, by the way. Companies require vaccination because an outbreak would imply the total or partial paralysis of its activity and considerable economic losses.
In some cases, the unvaccinated worker is given the option to telework. They cannot go to the office or meet with other colleagues. However, there are companies whose employees work with the public and cannot be working from home. These companies want their entire workforce vaccinated.
It remains to be seen whether this vaccination requirement has an unproblematic legal basis. The fact that a private entity and not the State requires vaccination can be interpreted as a business overreach and even discrimination.
The ethical debate continues about whether governments and companies should respect the freedom of those who decide not to be vaccinated.
In times like these, as the collective health of a country is in danger, it seems that the defence of the common good is overruling individualism.
Image: Dylan Hunter / Unsplash