Sooner or later, the world will begin to lift the limitations that emerged after the start of the pandemic – these are closed borders, extended quarantines after arriving in other countries, as well as requirements for the availability of tests and various certificates.
What is a vaccination passport?
Vaccination passports are certificates assigned to people vaccinated against COVID-19. As a rule, they register personal data, the date of vaccination (if there are two, then both dates). Also, the certificate contains information about the assigned coronavirus and the consequences of the PCR test. A Covid passport can be in paper or digital format and include a barcode and other elements to verify authenticity. Passports will be temporary till the completion of the pandemic.
In theory, the owner of a “passport” will be able to show it at the border, for example, from a smartphone screen to freely enter the country. It is assumed that the widespread introduction of such documents should guarantee the protection of society from the coronavirus. You can travel with them without restrictions. Also, you do not need to constantly take PCR tests.
For a sample document in Europe, they want to take the “green passport” which was introduced in Israel. There it is received by people who have undergone COVID-19, as well as those vaccinated. All of them are free to visit gyms, theaters, sports events, fly abroad within the tourist corridors.
Who supports the vaccine passports?
Most European countries, which rely heavily on tourism for their income, have pushed for the introduction of vaccination passports to launch international tourism as soon as possible.
Thus, Greece is requesting the installation of certificates for vaccinated citizens to allow them to travel. Tourism accounts for 20% of the country’s GDP, providing one in five citizens with work. According to the consulting organization Ernst & Young, the decline in tourism revenues in 2020 was 80%.
In this regard, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on the European Commission to introduce uniform certificates for vaccination against coronavirus. According to Mitsotakis, it is necessary to develop a united vision of how the certificate should be structured so that it is accepted in all EU countries. In his opinion, the early introduction of a single certificate in the EU will allow promoting this initiative in the international arena, contributing to the resumption of free movement around the world.
One of the country’s most popular tourism destinations, the Balearic Islands, has already announced that they are ready to receive tourists in the summer as part of the vaccine passport program.
Also, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria spoke in favor of the introduction of vaccination passports.
In turn, the World Health Organization (WHO) opposed vaccination passports, focusing on the lack of vaccines and the need to test their effectiveness.
Business is testing analogs of passport
While countries are voting whether to propose certifications or not, some airlines have decided to test the IATA Travel Pass vaccination verification application developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In it, you can see not only the history of vaccinations but also vaccinations made against COVID-19. Qatar Airways, airBaltic, Air Serbia, and others have already connected the platform. Singapore Airlines also announced that it will begin testing the Travel Pass on the Singapore-London route from next week.
The European Commission presented a draft of a new document
If the certificate is approved, a single sample document will be issued by the summer of 2021. It will simultaneously appear in 27 EU states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. But not all countries agree to wait for summer: Austria plans to issue a certificate in April.
The introduction of a vaccination certificate for international travel is a temporary measure, the European Commission emphasizes. It will be canceled as soon as the World Health Organization announces the end of the pandemic.
What data will be included in the vaccination certificate
The European Digital Green Certificate will combine three certificates in one document. Namely:
- Certificate of vaccination indicating the brand of the vaccine used, the date and place of vaccination, the number of doses of vaccine taken.
- Certificate with the result of the coronavirus test: PCR test or rapid antibody test.
- A medical certificate stating that a person has had coronavirus in the last 180 days.
The owner’s name and date of birth, and date of issue of the certificate will also be indicated in the document. The certificate will be issued in two languages: English and the national language of the country that issued the document. The authenticity of the certificate will be confirmed by a unique QR code.
The certificate will be available in two formats: electronic and paper. The electronic certificate is not a mobile application, but it can be downloaded to a smartphone.
Full description of the new vaccination certificate on the website of the European Commission.