Corona pass is barely effective against Omicron, reveals TU Delft research

The introduction of a 2G corona pass for the reopening of society is barely preventing new infections, conclude TU Delft researchers in a new report.

The effect of 2G and 3G on the spread of the virus is strongly dependent on the populace’s level of immunity. (Photo: Justyna Botor)

A report entitled Effectiviteit van verschillende toepassingen van het CoronaToegangsBewijs (in Dutch) was sent to the House of Representatives this week. This report will help the House of Representatives decide if it will or will not agree to the proposal of the Cabinet to enforce the 2G policy. In the case of 2G, people will only receive a corona pass for public spaces if they are either fully vaccinated or have recovered. In the case of 3G, people may also have access if they have a recent negative corona test.

The chance that the Cabinet will be given the green light is small. The researchers conclude that the 2G corona access requirements have little effect. A measure like this would have made a big difference at the end of last year.

Omicron put paid to that
But the Omicron variant, that has gained much ground since then, put paid to that. This variant evades the immune system of vaccinated or recovered persons more easily than the Delta variant.

The effect of 2G and 3G on the spread of the virus is strongly dependent on the populace’s level of immunity. 2G is mostly effective when there is a large difference in protection against infection between a group of unvaccinated people who have no corona pass on the one hand, and a group that has received a corona pass because of vaccination or recovery on the other.

An incentive
Other countries, including France, are opting for 2G. One important argument in France is that a strict corona policy encourages people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated. It is an incentive. The underlying premise is that the number of hospital admissions will drop. But does it really work? This approach may be a big disappointment, shows a Dutch study consisting of both calculation models and questionnaires.

The unvaccinated group that says that they would get vaccinated if the corona pass is scrapped is larger than the group that says that it would be vaccinated if the Government introduces 2G or extends the number of locations where 3G is required. The researchers asked 3,000 adults, of whom 783 were unvaccinated, about their behaviour regarding the corona pass. Of the unvaccinated, 69% say that they will never let themselves be vaccinated.

The researchers however are not writing 2G off. Instead they recommend updating the models every month and adjusting them according to new data and information from both the Netherlands and internationally.

Editor Tomas van Dijk

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