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Around world, governments turn to vaccination mandates

by DANIEL E. SLOTNIK THE NEW YORK TIMES | October 13, 2021 at 4:31 a.m.
People and teachers protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates outside the Manhattan Federal Court Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

In their struggle to persuade holdouts to get vaccinated against covid-19, governments around the world are embracing vaccination mandates.

The push to get people vaccinated has largely shifted from offering incentives, such as cash payouts or free drinks, to issuing mandates and restricting the access of the unvaccinated to many venues and activities.

To sip an espresso indoors at a cafe in Paris, a person will need to provide proof of vaccination or a fresh negative coronavirus test, for which unvaccinated people will have to pay beginning Friday.

To work in settings like offices, factories, shops and restaurants in Italy, people will need to have recently recovered from covid-19, provide proof of having received at least one dose of a vaccine, or get a coronavirus test every two days. That mandate kicks in later this month.

In areas of high coronavirus transmission in Greece, live music is returning indoors to restaurants and bars for a two-week trial, but the unvaccinated will not be admitted.

Italian and French officials announced their measures in July. Greece announced its shift last week. In early August, New York became the first U.S. city to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, gyms and movie theaters.

Since then, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities have announced their own vaccination requirements to engage in public activities.

As the latest U.S. wave of infections has begun to wane, President Joe Biden's administration has increasingly turned to mandates, drawing fire in the process from many Republican leaders who perceive them as government overreach. Last week, Biden urged private employers to impose mandates of their own as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration works out the details of a vaccination or testing requirement for companies with more than 100 employees.

Vaccination mandates have sparked resentment and refusal to comply from the unvaccinated.

France's restrictions spurred large protests over the summer. But those protests have mostly cooled, and as of Thursday, 67% of the population was fully vaccinated, more than double the level from early July, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. An additional 8.3% was partly vaccinated as of Thursday.

Vaccination requirements remain politically toxic in some parts of the United States. Republican governors like Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida have enacted rules that penalize businesses that require proof of vaccination and prohibit local governments from mandating such requirements.

The American Civil Liberties Union, on the other hand, has defended vaccination mandates, saying they protect the civil liberties the organization defends.

"They protect the most vulnerable among us, including people with disabilities and fragile immune systems, children too young to be vaccinated and communities of color hit hard by the disease," David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, and Daniel Mach, director of its program on freedom of religion and belief, wrote in a New York Times editorial in September.

Print Headline: Around world, governments turn to vaccination mandates

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