Free, bilingual, in paper and digital: EU COVID passport for summer travel
The European Commission will approve today the passport for vaccination against COVID-19, which will be free, bilingual and available in digital and paper format, according to community sources confirmed to TVE. According to its forecasts, the first ones may be issued in June.
The Community immunity certificate shall specify whether its carrier is vaccinated with one or two doses, has antibodies by passing the disease, or, failing that, has undergone a PCR test to detect an active infection. It shall be written in the official language of the country and in English, and shall contain all key information in a barcode, which may be provided in paper or digital format.
This way, the 27 Member States aim to facilitate travel throughout the Community, at least with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). In contrast, antidotes that do not have the green light of the European regulator will have more restrictions, although countries will be allowed to include other vaccinations, such as the Russian Sputnik V, which is already administered in Hungary.
The proposal by five Commissioners will be presented in Brussels today. However, it will still have to go through Parliament and the European Council in the coming months.
In Spain, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, said on Tuesday that the Balearic Islands could be pioneers in the development of these community vaccination certificates. From the outset, the Government has been receptive to the instrument in order to reactivate tourism. In fact, Maroto herself has already announced that our country will carry out a pilot test to “test the suitability” of the document, as well as to “be prepared for its use when the data of the pandemic allow it”.
“Without a doubt, the Balearic Islands was already a pioneer in the first tourist corridor that we opened last year and, therefore, it is a destination with which we could work so that it was also a pioneer in the development of the certificate”, the minister pointed out this Wednesday in statements to the media before the presentation of the report ‘Tourism innovation and smart specialisation in Spain’, organized by Segittur.
Other countries such as China or Bahrain have also launched their digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates to enable their citizens to travel internationally.
ECDC and WHO believe it discriminates against unvaccinated people
The director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Andrea Ammon, has opposed such documents to encourage travel in the European Union, because it can discriminate against those who have not been vaccinated and because there was still a lack of certainty about the protection of the vaccine against infection, a view that coincides with that of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Creating certain freedoms in connection with (vaccination) means unequal treatment,” said Amon, who also recalled that “we do not know” how long the protection of the vaccine will last. ” We have indications that someone who has been vaccinated, if they become infected again, transmits the virus with a lower viral load”, she said.
The director of the ECDC considers it positive that the document contains information beyond vaccination, but not that it is used as a “free ticket” to travel around the Schengen area. In addition, it has also questioned whether the health passport can contribute to the tracing of people infected with coronavirus.