Merkel: Digital Vaccine Passport to Come Within Three Months

Merkel: Digital Vaccine Passport to Come Within Three Months

The digital corona vaccination pass should be available in three months and apply across Europe. It is one of the main takeaways of last week’s virtual European Union summit. However, whether a vaccination passport allows for freedom of travel remains controversial in the EU. Especially the southern member states had demanded this.

“The expectation is that it will be ready by summer,” said German chancellor Angela Merkel regarding the digital vaccine passport. However, unlike the southern nations, Merkel seeks to leave open which specific rights are associated with the document, even though a two-class society ought to be avoided in the eyes of the EU, even when travelling. Merkel also pointed out that at the moment, too few people have been vaccinated to decide the issue of freedom of travel with the vaccination passport – but one still had to prepare.

National solo efforts by Germany and some other countries in border controls had already caused heavy criticism from Brussels prior to the summit. “I declared for Germany that in certain cases, we are forced to introduce certain restrictions,” said Merkel. The latter applied to areas of high incidence or areas of mutation. There are exceptions for commuters and goods traffic – but this requires additional security such as tests.

Moreover, Merkel warned the other EU countries to be careful with the self-tests. Confirmed experience with the reliability of the tests was necessary. Only then should it allow for increased freedom of movement.

Testing and the vaccine passport will become all the more pivotal since the British variant of the Coronavirus has arrived in almost all member countries, according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Due to the high risk of infection, special efforts were now necessary. More infected people would have to be examined when asked whether a mutated virus caused the infection. With sequencing, von der Leyen promised the member states the Commission’s support.

Meanwhile, all 27 heads of state and government then agreed on their attitude towards pharmaceutical companies. One needed to increase the pressure. The delivery times should be more strictly controlled. Von der Leyen noted that BioNtech and Moderna were adhering to their obligations. However, what AstraZeneca is doing was “closely monitored”.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons CC-BY 4.0)

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