Sun | Sep 19, 2021
ITALY

Europe’s vaccine passes reveal some pockets of resistance

Published:Monday | August 2, 2021 | 12:05 AM
People stage a protest against the “green pass” in Milan, Italy on July 24. Protesters in Italy and in France have been wearing yellow Stars of David, like the ones Nazis required Jews to wear to identify themselves during the Holocaust. Some carry sig
People stage a protest against the “green pass” in Milan, Italy on July 24. Protesters in Italy and in France have been wearing yellow Stars of David, like the ones Nazis required Jews to wear to identify themselves during the Holocaust. Some carry signs likening vaccine passes to dictatorships.

VERONA, Italy (AP)

Shouts of “Liberty!” have echoed through the streets and squares of Italy and France as thousands show their opposition to plans to require vaccination cards for normal social activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants, visiting museums or cheering in sports stadiums.

Leaders in both countries see the cards, dubbed the “Green Pass” in Italy and the “health pass” in France, as necessary to boost vaccination rates and persuade the undecided.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi likened the anti-vaccination message from some political leaders to “an appeal to die”.

The looming requirement is working, with vaccination requests booming in both countries.

Still, there are pockets of resistance by those who see it as a violation of civil liberties or have concerns about vaccine safety. About 80,000 people protested in cities across Italy last weekend, while thousands have marched in Paris for the past three weekends, at times clashing with police.

European nations in general have made strides in their vaccination rates in recent months, with or without incentives. No country has made the shots mandatory, and campaigns to persuade the undecided are a patchwork.

Denmark pioneered vaccine passes with little resistance. Belgium will require a vaccine certificate to attend outdoor events with more than 1,500 people by mid-August and indoor events by September. Germany and Britain have so far resisted a blanket approach, while vaccinations are so popular in Spain that incentives are not deemed necessary.