US, EU seek maximum vaccine rates

Brussels, Sept. 20 (BUS): The Belgian city of Aarchot has a vaccination rate of 94% of all adults, but Mayor Gwendolyn Rotten fears her city is too close to the capital, Brussels, at 63%. . But there isn’t much she can do about it.

Hope the government mandates vaccination. “Otherwise you are dragging all the others into danger,” Rutten said in a recent interview, The Associated Press reports.

However, a few EU countries have issued explicit mandates, instead requiring people to show evidence of vaccination, test negative or have recently recovered from COVID-19 to participate in more activities than ever before – sometimes even to go to the job.

More blanket requirements are the order of the day in the United States, which has faced significant resistance to vaccines. President Biden last week announced mandates covering large parts of the population, sometimes with no option to get tested instead.

Despite seemingly divergent strategies, officials in both the United States and the European Union are grappling with the same question: how to maximize vaccination rates and end an epidemic that has repeatedly frustrated efforts to control it.

In fact, the apparent division may narrow in reality. Although some European countries are not described as hypotheticals of the restrictions, they make life so difficult for those who do not have the vaccine that they may amount to the same.

In a potentially surprising move in a country known for promoting individual liberties, Biden has imposed blanket vaccine requirements for up to 100 million Americans, including many private sector employees and health care workers. Employees at companies with more than 100 workers will need to be vaccinated or tested weekly, while the vaccination will be required for executive branch employees and contractors doing business with the federal government — with no option for testing. There are some exceptions.

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A seemingly more aggressive US policy may reflect greater pressure there. The European Union, which initially lagged behind the United States in terms of vaccinations, was overtaken by it at the end of July. As of Thursday, 60% of the population of the 27-nation bloc had been vaccinated compared to 53% in the United States, according to Our World In Data. In both places, immunization rates vary greatly from country to country or country to country.

US authorities from Biden and down have described the current phase as an “unvaccinated pandemic,” with data showing that nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the United States are now in unvaccinated people. European Union officials have used the same description of the continuing outbreak in their countries.

It is difficult for the EU to enforce mandates for vaccines because health policies are the responsibility of 27 national governments, and senior EU officials are dealing with this problem. When asked by the Associated Press specifically if mandatory vaccination could be part of the solution, three EU commissioners veered on the question, although none of them opposed.

“This is not our prerogative. This is not part of our legal framework,” said EU Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, before adding: “But if there is a message we would like to repeat to member states and through Member States to European citizens, it is ‘vaccinate, vaccinate’ , Vaccination “.

Inland Market Commissioner Terry Britton assured that bidding would not be an issue, and that the block would be “ready for whatever is needed”. This confirms that such debates can only take place in rich countries, while many low-income countries are still unable even to offer all their citizens a first chance.

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But while officials in Brussels cannot impose a mandate on the EU’s 450 million citizens, many national governments are tightening restrictions on those who have not been vaccinated. In fact, some countries require vaccines for some groups: Slovenia imposes them on government employees, with no option for testing.

However, it is more common in the European Union mainly to require regular testing of those who have not been vaccinated.

Want to see The Last Judgment by primitive Flemish director Rogier van der Weyden at the Burgundy Museum? You must show a so-called COVID Card – which provides evidence of a negative test, vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 – to allow you to admire this Northern Renaissance gem. The restrictions apply across France to everything from entering restaurants to visiting the Eiffel Tower.

Struggling to boost paltry vaccination rates in early summer, France was the first major country in the European Union to begin using such permits. Macron then announced mandatory vaccinations for all health workers in July.

Proven to be effective. In the eight weeks since the announcement, the French public health service said the overall vaccination rate had risen from 40% fully vaccinated to 69%.

As a result, I found other takers in the block. On Thursday, Italy, which had already requested a permit for several activities, upped the ante. Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government said workers in the public and private sectors will soon have to show someone to go to work. Slovenia and Greece have adopted similar measures, but Italy is the first major European economy to require a COVID permit to access workplaces in all sectors.

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Italian legal expert Vitalba Azzolini said the health permit was “not a push to get vaccinated, it’s an unpleasant push”.

On both sides of the Atlantic, people sometimes felt like a push was a push.

In the United States, there was a lot of angry rhetoric and sporadic demonstrations.

“Everyone should have the right to say ‘no’ to something, and not lose everything,” said Candice Gangavi, a nurse at Memorial Hermann Healthcare in Houston, Texas, who helps others with advice on how to get a vaccine exemption. imposed by the employer.

Meanwhile, Republican governors across the United States have strongly condemned Biden’s mandate and vowed to take legal action. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has vowed to fight the president “until the gates of hell.”

Biden defended the mandates by saying, “My job as president is to protect all Americans.”

Italy and France have seen thousands take to the streets in protest of COVID cards, some of which have resulted in clashes with police in Paris. In Slovenia, hundreds of anti-vaccination protesters threw flares at Parliament House on Wednesday in protest against new measures that require a COVID entry permit to enter almost any store as well as restaurants and private workplaces.

The government has doubled its size, and announced Friday that it will extend the requirement to government employees.

Vaccination rates have risen since the first measures were announced.

“I would be happier if people understood why they should be vaccinated,” said Bojana Beovic, chair of the Ministry of Health’s advisory group on COVID-19. “But the main thing is that the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated is increasing.”


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