Tuesday, November 30

FHI on corona pass: Helps little against infection

NEW TOOL: Municipalities can now use corona passes, instead of shutting things down.

Municipalities can now introduce corona passports locally. It should be used to open up, and is not really an infection-reducing measure.

– Yes, that is correct – the intention is to facilitate more intrusive measures, says FHI director Camilla Stoltenberg to VG.

It is not the case that it is now free for municipalities to introduce the use of corona passports as a tool locally. You should have the opportunity to use this instead of other restrictive measures, which have already been adopted locally.

– You must have rules that can be eased, and you must also consider whether using the corona certificate is sufficient, if the assessment is that you need such strict rules. Then you have to think about whether it is justifiable to use a corona certificate instead, says the FHI director.

In the professional basis they provided to the government, FHI also considered that the effect coronapass can have on reduction in infection and hospitalizations is probably small, if testing is to be a possible criterion for obtaining a green passport.

It should be: That is, you can either be vaccinated or previously infected, or test yourself, to get a green passport. But those who are vaccinated do not need to be tested, and they can also be infected.

Unvaccinated people can be infected by vaccinated people

The NIPH director points out that the proportion of vaccinated has increased since the last corona certificate was in use domestically, and that it is also known that vaccinated people can spread the infection – even if the risk is lower.

There will thus be many who have a green certificate because they have been vaccinated, who at the same time may have been exposed to infection before an event.

– Equating vaccinated with unvaccinated puts those who have not been vaccinated (but have a negative test) at greater risk of being infected by fully vaccinated at events where there would otherwise be other infection control measures. The most effective infection control advice to protect those who have not been vaccinated and who are at greater risk of serious illness are other, contact-reducing infection control measures.

At the same time, she says it is not the case that FHI believes that the current version of corona pass can contribute to more, instead of less, infection.

– No, we do not mean that. But the infection control effect will vary according to how a certificate is used and who is allowed to use it, says the NIPH director.

Low confidence in extended use

Several countries in Europe use the corona passport to a greater extent. Then they have introduced national rules that, for example, all pubs and restaurants can require a corona passport to let people in.

While many rejoice at the possibility of more free movement, critics say it also leads to a sense of coercion and vaccine pressure.

The government of Norway has also said that they are considering a more extensive use of corona passports than what they have introduced now – but in that case it will require more extensive regulatory work.

– It does not open up the legislation as it is now. So if the government should want to use corona certificate in other ways, the law must be changed. Then there must also be hearings. They have said that may be relevant, but they have not gone into it yet, says Stoltenberg.

In the professional basis they have provided to the government, FHI is not very positive: «FHI has low confidence that extended use of corona certificates can prevent the spread of infection to a significant degree. There are a number of challenges with such a solution, and it should be a political decision to weigh various considerations “, they write.

– If you use the passport to a greater extent as you do in some other countries, do you think that it can have a large enough infection-reducing effect that it outweighs disadvantages such as that it can seem discriminatory?

– This in turn will depend on how it is used, and what is perceived as discriminatory.

Must have action first

There are not very many municipalities that have local initiatives at events and restaurants today, but one of the municipalities that has it is Tromsø. They have already announced that they will introduce corona passports.

– It is not the case that a municipality without this type of measure can now say that they think it is wise to introduce corona passports, because they may have to introduce measures if they do not?

– No, they can not. They must have measures, and then they can in principle adopt it at the same time, so that, for example, an event can choose whether they want to use those measures or the corona certificate, says Stoltenberg.

She gives a fictitious example: If a municipality, for example, has closed pubs or required them to have one meter distance between people, they can introduce a regulation that one can either have these strict measures or use corona passports.

– Then the municipality must at the same time assess whether the use of a corona certificate is a justifiable compensation for the measure that it has considered to be proportionate and necessary, she emphasizes.

Assistant Director of Health Espen Nakstad in the Norwegian Directorate of Health is more positive about the possible effect coronapass use can have on the infection:

– Corona certificate will have a contagious effect. Even if it is introduced to live more normally and avoid infection control measures, the effect will be that you can do it in a safer way, says Nakstad.


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