08 October 2021 09:38
To travel between European states and regions, soon the number of infections will no longer be taken into consideration, but vaccination rates. This is what the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) proposes, which is considering modifying the parameters on the basis of which it draws up the map of the epidemiological situation of the EU regions every week. A map that various member countries use to decide on any restrictions on the movement of its citizens.
More vaccinated, fewer restrictions
As is known, the map divides the different areas of the Union into 4 colors (green, yellow, red and dark red) based on a series of parameters, including the relationship between Covid-19 infections and the population. As reported by Euractiv, the European health agency has made a proposal on some changes to the rules governing the management of the Covid-19 emergency on the sidelines of a meeting between experts who had gathered to define guidelines on the basis of which gradually loosen restrictions on intra-European travel. The key criterion around which to modulate the rules has been identified in the vaccination rate: the higher the percentage of vaccinated people in a given area, the easier it will be to move to and from that area. At the moment, according to the institution’s EU inoculation monitoring, over 74 per cent of Europeans are fully immunized, while 80 per cent have received at least one dose.
Europe traffic light
Currently, as we said, the classification system of the EU regions is based on a different parameter: the percentage of infections in the population. Based on this, the ECDC has accustomed us to the so-called “traffic light maps” of Europe, with the regions colored in green, yellow or orange / red depending on the number of cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. But it seems that this system had several criticalities: for example, the inhomogeneity of the testing methods in the various countries, which make statistical comparisons more complex. On the other hand, given that high vaccination rates correspond to very low percentages of hospitalizations, there is a need to consider the objective low danger of the capillary immunized areas when assessing travel restrictions. However, the ECDC has not yet taken a final decision on the change.
Incentive to vaccination
Whether this is a way, albeit indirect, to encourage Member States to speed up the vaccination campaign is beyond doubt, even if the ECDC has a purely advisory role and any decision on this matter is up to the Commission. But it is clear that the gap between EU countries in terms of immunization, especially along the east-west axis, worries many in Brussels. If nine out of ten citizens are vaccinated in Portugal, the percentage collapses vertically in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, where it stands at 24 and 35 percent respectively (ECDC data).