With more and more countries agreeing to allow travelers to enter providing they have been vaccinated, it seems that being vaccinated will be the key to going on vacation this summer. Yet along with vaccinations, it seems another essential feature of summer travel will be vaccine passports, despite their controversial nature.
Governments of the 27 EU member states this week agreed on the technical standards for their vaccine passports, suggesting that they may be ready for use in time for the summer. Here’s everything you need to know about the “digital green certificates”.
EU Digital Green Certificates – What Are They?
The EU’s Digital Green Certificate is the term that the political union is using to describe what has also been referred to as a “vaccine passport” or “vaccine certificate”. It is a scheme that will provide proof their holders have been vaccinated against Covid-19, tested negative for it or have recently recovered from the virus, and are considered immune as a result.
How Close Are They To Being Ready?
This week, EU member states took another step closer towards the Digital Green Certificates becoming a reality when governments reached a deal on technical standards of the documents. According to a statement issued by the EU on Wednesday, ambassadors met in Brussels during the week to discuss the matter, and agreed to support the draft legal text.
Whilst it is a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go before it is eventually rolled out to EU citizens. The next step will see the matter put before the European Parliament, where negotiations about the Digital Green Certificate are expected to start towards the end of this month, or early in May. However, the EU’s statement reaffirmed the commitment of its member states to have the framework ready in time for the summer.
The progress has been welcomed by Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal. Speaking about the news this week, he said:
“The current epidemiological situation remains of great concern, but when looking ahead, we need to have solutions that work across Member States. The Digital Green Certificate comes in to facilitate safe and free movement. It is most important for our citizens, for our societies and for the recovery of our economies. I welcome this first step. It shows that we are ready to engage constructively with the European Parliament and the Commission to continue to move fast on these proposals, in order to have the certificate and the system fully operational this summer.”
In order to get around the slow progress of the EU vaccine passport, some countries in the EU have taken matters into their own hands and created their own versions. Denmark has created a “corona pass”, allowing vaccinate people or those with antibodies to visit non-essential shops, whilst a similar scheme in France allows Air France flyer to fly between France, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
How Is The EU’s Vaccination Progress?
The EU has been blighted by supply and production issues with their rollout of the vaccine, which has seen the vaccination numbers of its member states fall behind the likes of the US and the UK. The EU has issued 18 doses of the vaccine per 100 people, whilst the figure for the US is 50, and in the UK it is 55.
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