TRAVEL NEWS – March 6, 2021: The European Commission will table a legislative proposal this month on a digital vaccination passport proving that a traveler has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter on Monday. The digital vaccination passport will continue under the name 'Digital Green Pass"(source).
In previous news articles (click) earlier this year it became clear that several countries within the EU were working on this, fed and supported by IATA, the largest aviation trade organization in the world. It was only a matter of waiting for an official confirmation from the EU, which has now come.
Moving safely within the EU
“The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely within the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism,” Ursula von der Leyen announced on Twitter.
But to avoid discrimination, the pass should also include other information, such as results of recent COVID-19 tests or proofs of immunity.
Ready for the summer of 2021
A package of measures targeting travel is already expected on March 17, ahead of a meeting of EU leaders on March 25, said Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas. “The goal would be to set a common direction for the safe opening of Europe...
EU leaders already agreed in January what a vaccine certificate should look like, although it was only intended for medical purposes. The bill that has come in will add something to that.
The certificate would within three months should be ready “if everything goes according to plan,” said a Commission spokesperson – something von der Leyen noted last week (source).
Several EU leaders, including Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, lobbied at last week's meeting for a green pass to relaunch freedom of travel.
More medical data in the digital passport
The certificates are likely to include a broader medical history surrounding the coronavirus, including recovery information and recent test results† Immunity can also be included in the application if proven (by being tested positive, being sick, and later testing negative). Traveling in 2021 therefore does not depend on a vaccination alone.
The application may also apply to countries that are not members of the European Union. The European Commission said yesterday it would work with the World Health Organization (WHO) to extend the scheme to other countries. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman added that the UK would discuss working with the EU on its new 'vaccine passport' plans.
Good travel news at last
Full details of the schedule will be released later this month and the aim is for the 'passports' to launch in June at the earliest. The fact that a trip abroad might be possible again later this year is – finally!!! – the positive travel news we've been waiting for so long.
UPDATE March 8, 2021: Not entirely unexpectedly, Arjen Lubach came up with a very interesting piece on this subject last night. Both the pros and cons are well put together in this episode, so in our opinion worth watching. You can watch the episode below.