COVID certificate against freedom?

Two weeks ago the confinement was declared illegal by the state of alarm, and just a couple of days later, in France measures were established that limited the mobility and employment status of unvaccinated people. The ruling contrasts with the rest of European countries, where the incentive for vaccination is being reinforced to achieve group immunity.

We spoke with the professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy at the Diego Garrocho Autonomous University and Hans-Gunter Kellner, a correspondent for Deutschlandfunk Radio about the controversial news about the COVID certificate. In many autonomous communities this digital document, which guarantees the immunity of its bearer, is already mandatory to access leisure establishments. Although for the moment it is ruled out to study the formula of requesting a COVID-19 certificate to enter bars or restaurants, the debate continues on whether these measures compromise the freedom of citizens.

Controversy over the measure

Tomás de la Quadra, jurist and former Minister of Justice in the Government of Felipe González, defends that all our freedoms have a natural limit, which is the freedom not to harm others. It is therefore reasonable to apply a series of measures that guarantee the safety of citizens during the pandemic. However, for Diego Garrocho the problem is due to the non-sterilizing nature of the vaccine. In other words, the idea of ​​establishing a COVID certificate can be taxing insofar as it is not a vaccine that eliminates the virus completely.

Regarding the controversy that has surrounded autonomous communities such as Galicia or Cantabria, the president of the Bioethics Committee of Spain, Federico de Montalvo, establishes the reflection on discrimination. The debate arises around the price of the tests that are required to be able to attend certain events or take, for example, a flight. PCR tests cost around 100 euros. This can be a problem for economically vulnerable people. In the same way, the age group in which the individual is found can be discriminatory, since only 40% of the population is vaccinated with the full schedule.

Mandatory vaccination?

As for the refusal of the sector of the population that is reluctant to be vaccinated, some countries such as the United States have opted for incentives. However, certain private companies such as Google or the Washington Post have announced that their employees must be vaccinated. According to de Montalvo, in Spain the latter is still far from being implemented. In any case, the legislation establishes that it will be the employer who must provide the worker with the vaccine if they are at risk of contagion in the work environment.

As a result of this, the debate also arises as to whether those who refuse to be vaccinated should be cared for in public hospitals. However, it would be accepting punitive responsibility in health, something that in Spain has been rejected for decades. Asking the patient why he has become ill would be to enter dubiously ethical terrain.

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