EU to agree Common Approach to Covid-19 Vaccine Certification
Vaccine certification will be one of the key topics for European Union leaders as they come together to discuss the bloc’s coordinated response to combating the health pandemic. In a communication from the EU Commission, ahead of a video conference between EU leaders to take place on Thursday, January 21st, the introduction of vaccine documentation and recognition are highlighted amongst the actions set out for Member States to reduce risks and keep the virus under control.
With vaccine certification identified as an area of risk mitigation, the option of using vaccine certification as a replacement for the virus testing, currently required for international travel by many countries, may become possible. However, the Commission Communication said it is too soon to consider the use of vaccine certificates for anything other than health protection, but other cross-border applications may be possible in the future.
The Communication calls on Member States to accelerate the roll-out of vaccination allowing for at least 80% of people over the age of 80, and 80% of health and social care professionals in every Member State to be vaccinated by March 2021. By summer 2021, Member States should have vaccinated a minimum of 70% of the adult population.
Referencing a coordinated approach to vaccine certification, the Communication states, ’As more people are vaccinated, the documentation and mutual recognition of vaccination become of utmost importance. Vaccination certificates allow for a clear record of each individual’s vaccination history, to ensure the right medical follow-up as well as the monitoring of possible adverse effects. A common EU approach to trusted, reliable and verifiable certificates would allow people to use their records in other Member States. Though it is premature to envisage the use of vaccine certificates for other purposes than health protection, an EU approach may facilitate other cross-border applications of such certificates in the future.’
The Commission will continue to work with Member States on vaccination certificates which can be recognised and used in health systems across the EU in compliance with EU data protection law. The work is due to be completed by the end of January 2021 and presented to the WHO as a possible universal standard.
Commenting on the EU approach, Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said, ‘Working together with unity, solidary and determination, we can soon start to see the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Now in particular, we need swift and coordinated action against the new variants of the virus. Vaccinations will still take time until they reach all Europeans and until then we must take immediate, coordinated and proactive steps together…’