EU to propose Covid-19 vaccine passports in March
Certificates will enable people to present proof of vaccination and thus skip quarantine protocols
The European Commission will present a proposal in March on creating an EU-wide digital vaccination passport, an issue that has divided member states, Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday.
"We will submit a legislative proposal in March," von der Leyen told German conservative lawmakers during a video conference on Monday.
With vaccinations now well underway, governments are increasingly seeing vaccine “passports” – or other forms of Covid-19 status certificates – as a way out of the cycles of shutdowns and curfews that have ground travel to a near halt.
The certificates would enable people to present proof of vaccination and thus skip quarantine protocols when arriving in a new country.
Greece unveiled a digital vaccination certificate in February for those who have received two doses of the vaccine.
Other countries that are currently issuing or asking for vaccine certificates include the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
France says vaccine passports premature
But some countries, including France and Germany, have expressed concern that easing travel for people who have been inoculated would discriminate against others who are still waiting.
French Health Minister Olivier Véran has repeatedly said it is too early to discuss vaccination passports since fewer than three million French people have received a first dose and because it remains unclear whether the vaccine prevents transmission.
It is a view shared by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The EU Commission has previously said it will not be rushed into a decision on passports while a large proportion of its population remains unvaccinated.
Von der Leyen said last week that the 27-member bloc expected to vaccinate 70 per cent of adults by the end of the summer, after months of problems and friction.
The Commission chief said fully vaccinating just under three-quarters of adults by late summer was a "goal that we're confident with".