EU Countries do not agree on the use of Vaccination Passport

EU Countries do not agree on the use of Vaccination Passport

The idea of ​​creating a vaccination passport is defended by several countries to be able to relaunch international flights and tourism, but still has detractors, in this first phase of immunization campaigns in the world.

The precursors

Greece and Cyprus reached tourism agreements with Israel that allow their citizens to travel without restrictions, thanks to a “green passport”. Israel is also in talks with Malta in this regard. Sweden and Denmark announced the creation of electronic certificates especially intended for trips abroad.

Meanwhile, in Estonia, passengers are exempt from quarantine upon arrival if they present proof of vaccination. The same happens in Poland, where there is even an application for use by these people.

On his side, Iceland started issuing digital documents at the end of January to facilitate movement between countries.

The European Union divided

In the European Union, Greece, concerned about its tourism industry, proposed in January to create a European “vaccination certificate” to facilitate travel within the Union. But the initiative divides the 27. Spain, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark and Sweden are favorable, but others are more reticent.

France considers this debate “premature”, given that only a small part of the population has been vaccinated so far. Germany shares the same point of view.

The World Health Organization (WHO) together with Estonia is developing digital vaccination certificates, but considers them only as a tool for monitoring the campaigns. For now, it rules out using them as a requirement for travel.

“There are too many fundamental unknowns about the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing transmission (of the virus) and for now there are only a limited number of vaccines available,” stressed the WHO emergency committee.

Up to now, just over 222 million doses were administered worldwide, according to a count by AFP, for a world population of 7,800 million inhabitants. 22% of humanity also live in countries where vaccination has not yet begun.

A woman walks through terminal T4 of the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (Jesús Hellín - Europa Press)

Airline tests

The aviation sector, heavily affected by the crisis, is one of the main promoters of the vaccination passport. The Australian airline Qantas was the first in November to defend the “need” that international travelers are vaccinated before boarding.

Since then, several companies started test phases.

In the gulf, Emirates and Etihad will test the “IATA Travel Pass”, an application conceived by the International Air Transport Association, for passengers to verify if their “vaccination meets the requirements of their destination”.

The airline Air New Zealand will also examine the application of a digital passport to guarantee the authenticity of the vaccination certificates.

Sánchez praised the progress of the European Union in the vaccination passport

The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sanchez, praised this Friday the progress within the European Union to implement a passport or vaccination certificate against the coronavirus that facilitates mobility, an initiative that it considers “urgent” for the gradual recovery of normality.

Sánchez defended that certificate in an appearance before the press to report on the development and conclusions of the European Council held electronically for two days.

One of the main issues discussed by European leaders has been the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccination process, in which context all heads of State or Government are committed to speeding up dosing and strengthen production capacity in Europe, said Sánchez.

Along with the analysis of these productive capacities, Community leaders have discussed mobility within the EU, an aspect that Sánchez considers essential for countries highly dependent on tourism such as Spain.

The President of the Spanish Government he was satisfied due to the fact that, after several Council meetings, there is agreement to maintain the restrictions on non-essential travel but always respecting the internal market.

Ben Oakley
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