The first statement of the StemWiser: event organisers must be able to ask for a vaccination certificate at the entrance. In the coming months, the discussion about a vaccination certificate and passport will be one of the hot issues in The Hague.
It does not yet play a role in most party programmes for the upcoming elections. But the more people are vaccinated, the more the moral dilemma plays. Both in the Netherlands and in the rest of the world.
What exactly is the discussion about?
To what extent may a coronaprik yield more liberties, that is the essence. These benefits can apply to the recreational sector, such as to visitors to festivals or the hospitality industry, but also to education, care, work and travel. Proponents of easing for vaccinees see it as the best way to ‘open the Netherlands’, often in combination with large-scale rapid tests available.
But there‘s a lot of hooks and eyes. For example, it is still unclear to what extent vaccines prevent vaccinated persons from infecting someone else. And the effectiveness against the virus varies from vaccine to vaccine, how do you policy on that?
Vaccination is also not mandatory. For all kinds of reasons, ranging from religious to medical, people do not want or should not prick against covid-19. Asking a vaccination certificate “must not lead to prohibited discrimination or unequal treatment and must respect privacy rules”, warned the Health Council recently.
Moreover, the advisory body concluded that companies should in principle ask visitors for proof of vaccination. But then they have to comply with strict conditions.
What do the Dutch think about it?
At the beginning of January, a survey showed that a smaller majority of the population are in favour of a vaccination certificate. Research firm Ipsos then asked:
People who are vaccinated receive a vaccination certificate, which allows them to visit certain places (such as restaurants, shops, fitness centres, public transport and nursing homes) in the event of an outbreak in their region. People who have not been vaccinated may then be refused.
The remaining percentages of respondents were either neutral or filled in ‘no opinion‘.
Among the age groups, it is noticeable that the elderly are much more positive about the thesis than younger people. This is probably due to the fact that people of older age are vaccinated much earlier and would therefore receive more liberties than young adults.
Most parties disagreed with the first statement in the StemWiser. Only the VVD, D66, 50Plus, Bij1, Volt, Libertarian Party, Jong and NLBeter are in favour of organisers of events having to be able to request a vaccination certificate upon admission. The other 22 parties in this voting aid disagree.
But on this sensitive issue, the wording comes very close. At the RTL Election Debate last Sunday, only D66 was in favour of the argument: vaccinated citizens must be the first to regain their freedom. VVD, CDA, GroenLinks, SP denounced it.
D66 leader Kaag mentions Israel as an example. There, residents can activate evidence on their phones after the second shot. This gives them access to cultural performances, sports competitions, swimming pools, places of worship, gyms and hotels.
CDA leader Hoekstra was surprised by Kaag‘s position. “Then my grandmother will be allowed to go to the cafe, but someone 20 years old won’t go to his education.” Kaag insisted that she only supported the thesis on the condition that there are additional tests available for everyone.
“D66 uses it in the campaign and claims to be the only party with this ‘unique proposal’ to get out of the crisis,” says political reporter Ron Fresen. The dilemma of freedoms in exchange for inoculation is also discussed within the cabinet. “But the decision on that will not come until after the elections.”
What are the European plans?
The discussion is already difficult in a country with 17 million inhabitants, let alone 27 countries with more than 440 million inhabitants. The EU countries that rely heavily on tourism have already made it clear that they are in favour of a coronapas gate. Cyprus said this week that vaccinated British will be welcome again from 1 May.
On 17 March, the European Commission will present a plan for a coronapas gate. This ‘digital green pass’, as President Von der Leyen calls it, is expected to contain the following three points.
This plan is just the first step. The European Heads of Government will then have to approve it and then the European Parliament will have to agree. “We do not rule it out,” Rutte said on Thursday about the European Coronapas Gate. First, he wants to work with his EU colleagues to see whether it is technically feasible. And after that, the discussionerupt.