The German city of  Altötting has introduced a corona travel pass for people who have been vaccinated with a covid-19 vaccine-like Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford, Astrazeneca, or Jansen&Jansen.

Should people who have been vaccinated against corona get their freedoms back – sooner than the rest of the population? Like traveling abroad or eating out in a restaurant? This discussion is currently in full swing at the European level, there are still many questions and objections.

But in the Bavarian region of Altötting, they have decided not to wait for the outcome. There, everyone who wants to receive a vaccination card with their second injection.

The vaccination certificate

The vaccination certificate is an initiative of regional mayor Erwin Schneider. “I hope that we can return to normal life faster with this pass,” he says.

At the moment there are no concrete applications yet, but according to Schneider that will not take long. If a large proportion of the over-80s have been vaccinated, they may be able to form a closed group, he outlines his vision of the future. “And then go on a nice cruise on the Rhine together, for example. They can already enjoy all the freedoms.”

But the German government does not really see a vaccination pass like this. There is a fear that there will be a dichotomy in society if vaccines are given certain privileges. The subject is a sensitive one, especially as long as vaccines are scarce and many people who want an injection cannot receive them yet.

In addition, there is still no answer to the question of whether vaccinated people can still be contagious. If that is the case, then a ‘vaccination-free certificate’ is not a good idea anyway and vaccinees should also observe the mouth masking obligation, distance and quarantine.

Vaccine pass as an admission ticket

Future music, but a future that is already being thought about. And not just in Bavaria. For example, Israel is already working on a ‘green pass’ for vaccines, which can be used for travel and as an admission ticket for cultural events, among other things. Cyprus and Seychelles want to allow tourists to enter the country with such a pass without quarantine obligation.

Various airlines are also already thinking about traveling with an injection certificate. The mayor of Altötting: “You cannot stop this development. The government must be careful not to be overtaken by reality.”

Extra freedoms or restored civil rights?

Moreover, according to Mayor Schneider, the discussion is “the wrong way round”: “It’s not about giving vaccinees privileges, but giving them back their restricted civil rights.”

That is a position behind which more and more politicians are backing. Also prominent politicians from Chancellor Merkel’s CDU, including Norbert Röttgen. He says that “the restriction of freedom can only be justified as long as there is a danger to health”. Once the danger has disappeared, he says, restrictions must also be lifted for constitutional and principle reasons.

I don’t want to have to play police again.

Sabine Detter, owner of the brewery

In Altötting, most vaccinated people are happy to accept the vaccination pass. Pediatrician Ronald Schmidt was one of the first to receive one. He proudly shows his step. His photo is on the front and a QR code on the back, so that all information can be digitally stored and read. He can’t wait to use the pass. “I fly a lot to Berlin for my work, and I think this avoids a lot of hassle.”

But not everyone is excited. Not even the people you might expect it from. “I don’t want to play police again,” says Sabine Detter, owner of a brewery and beer garden in Altötting. She says that she had discussions with customers several times during the summer, because they did not want to put on their mouth masks, while it was mandatory.

“If I can only serve vaccines now, then you get the same situation. I don’t want to be responsible for that, I didn’t go into gastronomy for that.”