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Israel introduced “green passes” for vaccinated against coronavirus



Israel introduced "green passes" for vaccinated against coronavirus

Nearly 50% of the Israeli population opting to be vaccinated against Covid will receive a green pass one week after the second vaccination, as do people with suspected immunity after contracting the disease, writes The Guardian.

With this pass, starting from Sunday, it will be possible to visit gyms, hotels, swimming pools, concerts and places of religious worship. And from the beginning of March it will be possible to visit more restaurants and bars.

For the rest, including children under 16 who are not eligible for coronavirus vaccinations, many places and events closed during the one-year crisis will remain inaccessible.

“This is what the first stage will look like after returning to your almost normal life,” Israeli Minister of Health Julius Edelstein explained to his compatriots. The “pass” will work in a mobile application that companies must scan upon entry.

Many Israelis are thrilled with the innovation and hope they can finally live life to the fullest after months of restrictions.

As you know, in Israel, vaccination against coronavirus is in full swing. And initial data show that vaccinations have proven extremely effective in reducing infections and hospitalizations in a country of 9 million people.

Green Passes are the next step out of the pandemic crisis. But, as The Guardian notes, how Israel will put this scheme into practice remains to be seen. During lockdowns, it was not uncommon for cafe managers and store owners to open their establishments, despite all the bans. And now the same companies will be tasked with keeping track of who can visit them and who is ordered to enter.

The Israeli health ministry is also concerned that vaccination records could be tampered with and warned that anyone caught with a fake certificate could be fined 5,000 shekels (roughly 112,000 rubles).

Concerns remain about how some vaccinated people can still transmit the disease – and questions arise: Will their use of the Green Passes further spread the infection?

The introduction of “green passes” can be regarded, on the one hand, as an attempt to at least partially restore the economy, which has suffered from lockdowns. On the other hand, the innovation should help convince people who have been postponing to get vaccinated. And it seems that this technique is working a little: with daily vaccination rates in Israel declining this month, in recent days – after the details of the new pass were published – they began to pick up the pace again.

Earlier, Sweden and Denmark announced their plans to introduce electronic documents with data on vaccinations by summer. These Scandinavian countries have come together to develop vaccination certificates to allow citizens to travel abroad. But at the same time, Stockholm and Copenhagen also hinted that certificates could potentially be used to check whether someone has been vaccinated when attending sports or cultural events.

“With a digital vaccine certificate, it will be possible to quickly and easily prove that vaccination has been completed,” said Anders Igeman, the Swedish Minister for Digital Development, in a statement.

In Denmark, vaccination certificates are seen as an opportunity to allow residents of the kingdom to freely travel to other countries for work. Vaccination data should be available on the website of the Danish health care system or through a special application on a smartphone, Deutsche Welle reports.

But so far, only a few Swedes and Danes could use the electronic vaccination certificate. According to the online platform Our World in Data, as of mid-February, less than 7% of the population was vaccinated in Denmark, and just over 4.5% in Sweden. In Israel, about 74% of the population has already been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

There is another problem: critics of privilege for vaccinated people fear that certificates will lead to a de facto unofficial mandatory vaccination for people who are forced or who like to travel a lot or want to re-participate in public life. And this situation is fraught with discord in society and reasons for the growth of mistrust in the government.

It is also not entirely clear what to do with those who, for objective reasons, cannot be vaccinated. It turns out that they can become a kind of “marginalized” against the background of the vaccinated majority.

Previously, the World Health Organization put forward the idea of ​​digital certificates for vaccinated people, but in January WHO said it currently opposed their use as a travel requirement.

And the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in January supported the idea of ​​using certificates to identify people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus. But according to her, it is necessary to discuss at the European level – whether they give their owners any priority or access to certain services, since “this is a political and legal decision.”

In Germany, the Ethics Council spoke out against the vaccination passport, in particular, arguing that the spread of the virus by vaccinated people cannot be ruled out.