Why Italy obliges every worker to present a vaccination passport, every day


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The green pass must be presented and verified daily. This is not because a worker’s immunization status may change, but because privacy laws prohibit the employer from keeping workers’ personal medical records from day to day. .

Businesses and unions have expressed reservations about the new regime. Unions worry about the wage freeze penalty, while companies worry about potential staff shortages as the unvaccinated stay at home.

Policy support

But polls last week suggest 55% of the public supports the measure, many more in older groups. The use of the green pass outside of work is already standardized and routine.

This is remarkable in a country where many citizens seem to view many daily rules – paying taxes, stopping at traffic lights – as practically optional.

One of the reasons could be that it seems to be working.

When Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government announced the measure a month ago, 65% of Italians were fully vaccinated. Four weeks later, that figure has passed the magic 80 percent mark, and almost 6 percent of Italians have now received a third dose.

Compare that with Germany, which has been lighter on vaccination passports: the proportion of people fully vaccinated has not yet reached 70%.

France and Great Britain

In France, people have to show their TousAntiCovid app, confirming their dual vaxx status, to enter a restaurant, bar, cafe, gallery, museum, theater, cinema, swimming pool, gym; pretty much anywhere except the workplace.

This too had the desired effect. France has gone from one of the Western world’s most vaccine-skeptical nations less than a year ago to an even more advanced position than Britain, the leader in vaccination.

Britain is actually a bit of an outlier in Europe. He succeeded in vaccinating 79% of people aged 12 and over without any form of official coercion. Passports for vaccines are a political anathema in England, just as identity cards were 20 years ago, although Scotland and Wales have started to enforce vaccination warrants.

Discontent persists in countries like France and Italy. Last weekend, a protest march involving around 10,000 people passed through Rome.

It got ugly, as a few hundred demonstrators ransacked a union building and a hospital. It seems that the neo-fascist group Forza Nuova was behind the violence, which led to grim murmurs about parallels with Mussolini’s black shirts in 1921.

Protesters in Rome revolt against the compulsory use of the green pass for the COVID-19 vaccine. PA

For the most part, however, obeying the Green Pass rules seems to be the order of the day. The Italians have overcome their natural inclination to mock authority.

“Draghi has been very firm on this,” says Erik Jones, professor of politics at the European University Institute in Florence. “The message has spread that if we don’t do this then bad things are going to happen.”

He says Italians are collectively traumatized not so much by the severe early pandemic, which overwhelmed hospitals and mortuaries, but by the length and severity of the lockdown, and the relapse into a second lockdown at the end of the last year.

“When we went back to lockdown last fall, it was traumatic. People thought the pandemic was over, ”Jones said.

“When you ask people what they’re really afraid of, it’s not dying – although it should be – it’s being locked up again.

“Then Draghi came into government and said he was going to take care of the vaccination program and that Italy would never be stranded again. “

Why should others pay for someone deciding not to get the vaccine?

– Jens Spahn, German Minister of Health

Almost all major political parties are members of Mr. Draghi’s governing coalition, so there is a broad consensus in favor of the strict vaccination passport system, even if the occasional MP breaks ranks.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also succeeded in silencing any resistance. The first anti-passport protests drew several hundred thousand demonstrators across the country, but the movement did not have the strength to resist yellow vests (yellow vests) movement.

French businesses struggled at first, but in Paris at least, the process of displaying a QR code upon entering a restaurant has become simple, streamlined, and unobtrusive.

Mr Macron was able this week to ask Parliament to extend emergency legislation that governs the compulsory use of vaccine passports until the middle of next year.

‘About fairness’

Germany’s approach is more oblique. Instead of forcing passports on a dubious population, the government will make life a little more uncomfortable for the unvaccinated.

Income support will only be granted to people forced to self-isolate if they have been vaccinated. And although the unvaccinated can use negative tests as an alternative to the green pass, in Germany these tests will no longer be free.

“Why should other people pay for someone deciding not to get the vaccine?” Asked German Minister of Health Jens Spahn. “It’s not a question of pressure, it’s a question of fairness.”

French and Italian measures clearly encourage people to be vaccinated; Hopefully, the dive will be less likely to contract COVID-19, or at least not suffer so blatantly.

But passports may work in another way: keeping the unvaccinated out of the social loop can also slow transmission.

Italy reports something like 2500 to 3000 cases per day, France never more than 5500. Germany’s rate is a bit higher than France’s, while Britain’s daily rate without a passport again reached 40,000.

It’s an interesting but very unscientific correlation between passports and the number of cases, although it may also reflect Britain’s much higher testing rate.

Yet this is another source of encouragement for Mr. Macron and particularly for Mr. Draghi, whose determination could be put to the test in the coming days.

The introduction of vaccine passports at every workplace will create logistical difficulties. Port workers are talking about going on strike. Absenteeism among bus and truck drivers, and on farms, could exacerbate these post-COVID headaches in the supply chain.

“Businesses will find it difficult. There will be some starting issues, ”Mr. Jones said. “But it will work.”

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