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EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ARE LAUNCHING VACCINE PASSPORTS

The President of the European Union Commission Ursula von der Leyen supports the idea of a common vaccination certificate, which can be established by the EU, and issued by the Member States to every person who gets vaccinated against COVID-19.

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In an interview for Portuguese media, Von der Leyen was asked regarding the proposal of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to introduce a common document that would be issued to EU citizens who receive the vaccine against COVID-19.

At a meeting with the European Commission, Portugal’s Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita ventured that vaccine certification would be easier to manage than the current Covid-19 requirements.

Certificates “should act as proof of security and do away with certain requirements at borders — in particular, the requirement for PCR tests,” he said.

The number of EU countries warning they are planning to introduce ‘vaccination passports’ which will enable their citizens who are vaccinated to prove it while their travel, is on the rise.

Even the United Kingdom is preparing a certification system that would allow inoculated citizens to travel abroad this summer has reported the London Times. British Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly told BBC Radio 4’s Today program it was “not an uncommon practice” for countries to require documentation on inoculations and that the UK government would work with international partners on this.

If a country-by-country solution sounds scattershot and cumbersome, the World Health Organization (WHO) is also working on a vaccine certification solution that can roll out on a global scale.

The WHO’s position is that vaccine passports would be an improvement over current Covid-19 testing protocols and so-called immunity passports, which certify that someone has recovered from the illness and has antigens.

However, the idea of COVID-19 vaccine certificates for travel may not be getting the support of everyone at this phase.

The President of the European Council Charles Michel warned that it might be too early to introduce such certificates, as they may “create enormous frustration in Europe.” According to him, travel vaccine certificates’ topic is “sensitive in many European countries because some of them would have the impression that a certificate makes vaccination mandatory.”

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