Germany plans ‘vaccine passports’

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Germany has announced plans to allow people vaccinated against Covid-19 certain privileges over their unvaccinated peers, in a significant step towards introducing so-called “vaccine passports.”

Jens Spahn, the country’s health minister, said on Sunday that vaccinated people would be allowed to travel without quarantine, visit hairdressers and go shopping with minimal restrictions after new research indicated vaccinated people only pose a minimal risk of transmitting the virus.

“Anyone who is vaccinated can go to the shop or the hairdresser without further testing. In addition, according to the Robert Koch Institute (Germany’s peak health research agency), completely vaccinated people no longer have to be in quarantine,” Spahn told Germany’s Bild tabloid.

He did not give an exact date upon which the rules would come into effect, although German media reported the measure would be introduced in the coming weeks.

Under the plan, people who have received both vaccine doses will be free to shop, travel and visit hairdressers from 14 days after their final shot, when their risk of transmitting the disease becomes negligible.

“According to the research, the risk of virus transmission by people who have been fully vaccinated from the 15th day after the second vaccination dose is lower than an asymptomatic person who has tested negative with a rapid antigen test,” Mr Spahn said.

He added that the “current state of knowledge indicates that vaccinated persons probably no longer play a significant role in the epidemiology (i.e. transmission) of the disease”.

Vaccinated people would still have to comply with social distancing, hygiene and mask requirements, however.

Main Photo: A woman walks on the dyke in Cuxhaven-Duhnen, northern Germany. Due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Germany, most seaside resorts have imposed strict lockdown measures for the Easter weekend. Day trips to Cuxhaven and all overnight stays, even in own caravans, are prohibited, and restaurants may only sell take-away food. Only residents and owners of a secondary residence are allowed to take a walk on the beaches and promenades. EPA-EFE/FOCKE STRANGMANN

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