At a glance: Covid vaccine mandates around the world

The UK became the latest country to introduce vaccine mandates on Tuesday after the government announced all NHS workers would need to be jabbed by next spring.

Although obligatory shots have been ordered in many other countries, some have balked at the measures and resorted to protests and legal action.

In the US, which is struggling with very slow rates of vaccine take-up, the Biden administration’s plans to get US companies with 100 or more workers to vaccinate their staff or bring in regular tests have been opposed by Republicans and trade groups.

On Saturday, a federal appeals court in Louisiana temporarily halted the vaccine requirement for affected businesses. The administration says it is confident that the requirement will withstand legal challenges in part because its safety rules preempt state laws.

About 4 million federal workers are to be vaccinated by 22 November under the president’s executive order. Some employees, like those at the White House, are nearly all vaccinated. But the rates are lower at other federal agencies, particularly those related to law enforcement and intelligence, according to the agencies and union leaders.

Around 9,000 New York City municipal workers were put on unpaid leave last week for refusing to comply with a Covid-19 vaccine, while thousands of firefighters had called in sick in apparent protest at the move.

Italy was the first country in Europe to make the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for healthcare workers, but amid rising cases and a slower vaccination uptake, debate is rising over the possibility of extending the obligatory requirement to other groups.

The deputy health minister, Andrea Costa, said last week the idea of making the vaccine compulsory for some categories was “not taboo”, adding: “Let’s face the next few weeks and see what the vaccination data is.”

Italy is hoping to reach its target vaccine coverage of 90% of the population soon. As of Tuesday, almost 84% of the population aged over 12 had been fully vaccinated. However, the country’s controversial health pass, required by all workers to prove vaccination, immunisation or a negative test result before entering the workplace, hasn’t triggered the desired boom in vaccine uptake since being enacted in October.

In September, the prime minister, Mario Draghi, mooted the idea of making the vaccine compulsory for the entire population. On Tuesday, the former prime minister Romano Prodi said: “When there is a plague, vaccines should be mandatory.”

Demonstrators gathered outside the New Zealand parliament in Wellington on Tuesday to protest against the government’s vaccine mandates and government lockdowns.

New Zealand has struggled to fight off a highly infectious outbreak of the Delta variant this year, forcing the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, to move from a strategy of elimination through lockdowns to living with the virus with higher vaccinations.

Last month, Ardern said the country would require teachers and workers in the health and disability sectors to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and has said restrictions will end only after 90% of the eligible population are inoculated.

While the demonstration was peaceful, many people carried signs and placards with messages such as “Freedom” and “Kiwis are not lab rats” and shouting slogans as they demanded the government roll back compulsory vaccination and lift restrictions.

At the beginning of October, the Canadian government said it would require all those working in the federal public service and federally regulated transport sectors to get vaccinated. Any core federal public servants – including members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – who are unwilling to disclose their vaccination status or to be fully vaccinated will be placed on administrative leave without pay from 15 November.

Two months ago, France suspended 3,000 health workers without pay for refusing the Covid vaccine. The health minister, Olivier Véran, said the staff had been notified in writing before the government-imposed deadline to have at least one dose.

Véran said “several dozen” had resigned rather than have the vaccine, but with an estimated 2.7 million health workers in France, “continued healthcare is assured”, he said.

Singapore, meanwhile, has opted for a financial incentive to get people vaccinated, announcing that from 8 December, it will no longer pay the Covid-19 medical bills for people “unvaccinated by choice”.

The government currently covers the full Covid medical costs for all Singaporeans, as well as permanent residents and long-term visa holders, unless they test positive soon after returning home from overseas.

It said unvaccinated people “make up a sizeable majority of those who require intensive inpatient care and disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources”.

Indonesia announced mandatory vaccination in February, with heavy fines for those who do not comply.

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