France and Germany said on Wednesday that coronavirus vaccination would not be mandatory, ruling out the possibility of granting “privileges” to vaccinated people, as experts warned of the risk of restricting freedoms and reaching discriminatory situations, according to Mediafax.
“As long as the number of vaccinated people is still much lower than those waiting for vaccination, the state must not treat the two groups differently. In addition, it must be clearly demonstrated whether vaccinated people are no longer contagious,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Merkel reiterated that she will not accept that coronavirus vaccination should become mandatory.
“I do not recommend such a thing. We have said that there will be no obligation to vaccinate. And I do not think it will be necessary, given that there is a high rate of availability for vaccination,” said Angela Merkel.
Macron also rejects the idea
For his part, the administration of French President Emmanuel Macron also rejected the idea of compulsory vaccination and the possibility of granting privileges to vaccinated persons, arguing that this would be a restriction of freedoms.
“Currently, we cannot give additional rights to people who have been vaccinated compared to those who do not have access. The vaccination campaign is progressively ongoing. It would be extremely incorrect and paradoxical to tell people who are not vaccinated that they do not have the right to go out or resume certain activities,” Clement Beaune, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs told BFMTV.
“I still oppose a vaccination passport, which seems to me a violation of freedoms. I am a lover of freedom, and it would be difficult for me to imagine such a situation. If this is achieved, it would be a regression,” said Roselyne Bachelot, the French minister of culture, according to France24. Leaders of European Union and EU institutions agreed in January to keep borders open for essential travel.
European Council President Charles Michel said vaccination certificates would be for medical purposes only.
“We also discussed the issue of vaccination certificates. And I think we can agree on the common elements that are included in the certificates, for medical purposes, and, in a future stage, under what circumstances these certificates can be used. So, regarding vaccination certificates, I want to be very clear on this subject, we are very careful in this regard, I think it is important to note that when someone has been vaccinated to be able to prove this. But at the moment, it is unrealistic to assess all the consequences of these certificates,” Michel said on Jan. 22 after an EU summit.
For its part, the European Commission has given assurances that coronavirus vaccination will not be mandatory, stressing that there will be no different rights depending on the option. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the introduction of so-called “vaccination passports” either.
It is unclear whether vaccination will stop the spread of coronavirus or how long immunity lasts. In addition, it is unclear how long people who have been cured of COVID-19 are immune and whether they should receive a certificate. Some people also have contraindications to vaccination.
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