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EU plans ‘Digital Green Pass’ to boost travel

The EU Commission has proposed introducing a digital vaccination passport for those who have been vaccinated, in order to help revive Europe’s devastated travel industry over the crucial summer season.

A German passport and a 'vaccine passport'. Photo: Markus Winkler via Pixabay

EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that she will present a draft bill for a standardised digital vaccination record on 17th March. Leyen stated that the pass aims to enable Europeans “to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism”, by proving their immunity through a record of corona vaccinations, corona infection records and negative test results.

The travel and tourism sector has welcomed the proposal but maintains that regular testing is a more efficient and immediate way to allow the industry to rebuild and restart itself.

However, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, has serious objections to the EU Commission’s plan for a digital vaccination certificate, warning about the uncertainty of how long immunity will last after being vaccinated and if inoculated people can still spread the virus.

Some vaccine passport sceptics have also argued that it would be unfair to restrict people’s travel rights simply because they haven’t been immunised, whilst offering advantages and lifting travel restrictions for those who have been given the vaccine.

Kluge believes the introduction of the EU corona vaccination passes announced for the summer is “probably inevitable” but maintains that “it is not a WHO recommendation.” He also warns against not taking the corona mutations seriously enough, as if the rapid spread of a variant “coincides with a slow vaccination campaign, then we lose the momentum” and “the virus can regain the upper hand.”

“We need to be patient,” Kluge says. He believes the pandemic will be “over in early 2022”, meaning that the virus will not be gone “but hopefully there will be no more disruptive interventions.”


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