The United States isn’t the first country to announce sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandates. But not all vaccine mandates around the world look the same.

The new rules announced by President Biden on Thursday, which are likely to affect millions of people, are based on workplaces: Businesses with more than 100 employees and health-care facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid must require their workers to be immunized or face weekly testing.

Separately, the president signed an executive order compelling all federal employees to get vaccinated, with no alternative for regular testing.

This emphasis on places of employment contrasts with that of some other nations. Some countries, such as France, have created “vaccine passes” that allow entry to certain places only for the fully vaccinated. Other nations, including Indonesia, have implemented blanket vaccine mandates for most citizens.

“People are dying, and will die, who don’t have to die,” President Biden said on July 29, calling on unvaccinated Americans to get vaccinated against covid-19. (The Washington Post)

All of these mandates, however, are part of a growing trend around the world to require — or nearly require — vaccinations for certain categories of people to stem the tide of variant-fueled infections and get the pandemic under control.

Here’s how four countries have handled vaccination requirements.


Indonesia made coronavirus vaccinations mandatory in February, as Southeast Asia faced a devastating coronavirus wave.

All people eligible to get the shots must receive them, the government said, and those who refuse can face sanctions, including fines and the suspension or delay of social assistance programs and government services, Bloomberg News reported. Local governments have the power to decide on punishments.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-largest country, kicked off its vaccination campaign in mid-January, when President Joko Widodo became the first Indonesian to receive the Chinese Sinovac vaccine. By mid-February, when the mandate was announced, Indonesia had administered more than 1.7 million shots in a population of around 276 million.

Critics condemned what they called a heavy-handed approach that would penalize the poor and raised concerns about the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine — the only one available at the time.

The rights group Amnesty International said last year that states “must not impose blanket mandatory vaccine policies” and that it “strongly opposes the use of the criminal law” to punish those who refuse to be inoculated.

Indonesia announced at the end of August that it had administered 100 million vaccine shots. Tracking from The Washington Post shows that roughly 15 percent of the country is fully vaccinated. Case numbers are declining in the country, following an enormous wave that peaked in July at more than 56,000 new cases in one day.


If you’re 18 or older and you live in Turkmenistan, you are required to get a coronavirus vaccine unless you have a medical exemption.

That’s according to a Health Ministry announcement in July in the Central Asian country, as cases in the wider region were spiking, Reuters reported. The bizarre twist: Turkmenistan has officially reported no coronavirus cases or deaths.

The autocratic government of the country, which is sandwiched between Iran and Uzbekistan, continues to deny that the virus is circulating there and has sought to stifle contradictory views. Still, for months it imposed restrictions that closed restaurants and banned bus and train travel between regions, Agence France-Presse reported.

Turkmenistan has procured vaccines from Russia and China, according to Reuters. Data that might shed light on the progress of its vaccination campaign is hard to come by. And the government’s figure for the country’s total population — roughly 6 million — is contested. The last World Health Organization update on Turkmenistan’s vaccination campaign came in April, by which point roughly 42,000 vaccine doses had been administered.


Desperate to boost low vaccination rates in a country that is producing plenty of local Sputnik V doses, authorities in Russia have placed the onus on businesses — a move similar to the U.S. one.

In late June, Moscow’s mayor ordered employers in key service and retail industries to ensure that at least 60 percent of employees were fully inoculated by mid-August. Dozens of provinces followed suit.

Employers that don’t meet the vaccination target could face harsh punishments, and workers who refuse vaccines face threats of suspension.

When the rules started taking shape, 11 percent of Russians had been fully vaccinated, even though the vaccines are free in Russia and have been widely available for months.

Several hundred people rallied against vaccine mandates in July at a Communist-led demonstration in Moscow. A survey by the Moscow-based research and employment agency Superjob on July 21 found that 55 percent of Russians opposed mandatory immunization.

Widespread hesitancy about the vaccine remains: Another survey from July found that roughly a third of Russians were unwilling to take the vaccine under any circumstances, while 26 percent would do so only if it was required to keep working or get hired.

Moscow temporarily imposed strict measures, including a rare gloves mandate, as well as a requirement to show a QR code indicating vaccination status to sit in restaurants and bars, but it later lifted them.


French lawmakers approved a law in July that would give vaccinated people privileged access to restaurants, cafes and other places, as well as transportation between cities, beginning in August.

People wishing to enter those venues are allowed to provide a recent negative coronavirus test or proof of immunity through infection — but everyone else is be banned.

The onus is on the businesses to check, with hefty fines imposed on the owners if they are found to not be checking vaccination status.

President Emmanuel Macron said the goal of the “health pass” was to drive up vaccination rates, which had started to level off. Health-care workers will be required to get inoculated and can be suspended if they have not been vaccinated by Sept. 15.

The measures appeared to have had an immediate effect. After Macron announced the measures in July, hundreds of thousands of French residents booked appointments for their first shot within hours. Booking platforms called the surge a record. Coronavirus infections, meanwhile, have dropped since the vaccine passport system took effect.

In late August, the French government extended “health pass” requirements to 1.8 million workers who are “in contact with the public” in such places as restaurants, museums and trains. After Sept. 30, minors in such roles also will be subject to the requirement.

About 63 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated in a country previously known as one of Europe’s most vaccine-skeptical nations. A recent poll showed that 76 percent of French people view the vaccination requirement for health workers favorably.

But the moves also generated a backlash from some who argue that they go against France’s bedrock principles of liberty and equality. About 160,000 protested the changes in July, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen called the plan “an attack on freedoms and equality between citizens.”

Some other countries have imposed similar, though less widespread, requirements for vaccinations to enter certain businesses. Italy has required vaccination proof for entry into bars and restaurants. But England ditched plans to require proof of vaccination for access to nightclubs and other venues.

This report has been updated.