Posted: Monday June 07, 2021 06:32
From today, vaccinated international tourism is officially welcome in Spain. The executive has implemented the digital green certificate, which gives the immune population the possibility of traveling without inconvenience across European territory, which although it will not be in the whole of the EU before the 1st July, in some jurisdictions, like ours, comes into effect.
Specifically, the executive headed by Pedro Sánchez joined a pilot test launched by the European Commission itself. However, there are already countries that have moved forward: notably Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland, which have been testing the certificate since June 1. And now Spain is doing it, having successfully verified the QR code readability tests.
In this sense, the Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, explained last Friday in statements to Al Rojo Vivo that the objective is “to face the tourist season in complete safety”, and added: “What could be better than do it with healthy people. In good health because they have been vaccinated, because they certify a PCR, because they have transmitted the disease … So what we have done is to incorporate it in our markets outside the EU , who from June 7 can come with their vaccination certificate “.
Thus, according to the government, this date represents a turning point in the effort to revive the tourist economy; Especially, recalls Maroto, because of the evolution of vaccines: “We understood that a destination open to the world, like Spain, can assume this risk, because vaccination gives us a certainty that we did not have. few months ago.”
Valid for one year, free and bilingual
The key to this vaccination certificate lies in tourism. EU governments have pledged not to impose a quarantine on anyone who can prove, in one way or another, that they are healthy (either by vaccination or PCR testing) , although they may impose restrictions if the epidemiological situation worsens.
Now called the “digital green certificate”, this document aims to speed up this entire reopening process, and has some common characteristics: it is completely free, it has a QR code that makes it easier to read and, in addition, it is bilingual, therefore, collects content in the national language of the traveler in question, as well as in English.
One of the keys to this document is the format in which it will be presented: although it has been described as “green” and “digital”, it can also be presented on paper. Of course, you must always have with you, whether on your mobile or on a folio, the code that allows the host country to verify the traveler’s vaccination.
From PCR tests to the type of vaccine: the information in the certificate
On the one hand, this document contains a multitude of data on vaccination: for example, whether the person in question received the vaccine or not, the number of doses he received and even the batch of medicine that was used for his vaccination, among other data.
However, this document also collects other types of information that go beyond vaccines, in particular on the tests that may have been carried out on the traveler: from the PCR to the notification of having conquered the coronavirus.
Brussels also confirmed that the proposal respects data protection, security and privacy of travelers. And it touches on one of the most debated points: “The digital green certificate aims to facilitate free movement within the EU and the relaxation of current restrictions, not to restrict the right to free movement and the right to travel, “he wrote to the Commission. That is to say that it is in no way compulsory or must not, depending on the entity, discriminate against the population which has not yet received its dose.
Who can use this certificate?
Although the main function of this document is to accredit the vaccination of EU residents, it collects all kinds of health information regarding the coronavirus. Thus, if it will be mainly used for the movements of vaccinated people, it can also serve as a safe-conduct if the traveler in question has undergone a PCR test, as we have mentioned.
So if a person doesn’t have the certificate … can they travel? The answer is yes, and with that the European Commission has been direct. Indeed, according to the proposal approved by the member countries, non-discrimination is one of the key points.
Thus, member countries, in accordance with EU regulations, can under no circumstances exclude unvaccinated travelers. And in case one of them refuses to have the injection, they will simply have to go through the same tests that were required until now to travel (i.e. a PCR test or a blood test). antigen, depending on the country). “This regulation cannot be interpreted as establishing an obligation or a right to be vaccinated”, they stress.
The vaccines that are part of the certificate
The European Commission has overlooked various possibilities on this issue. But finally, as the draft indicates, “Member States must issue vaccination certificates regardless of the type of vaccine against COVID-19”. However, this obligation is limited to vaccines which have received a European marketing authorization from the EMA. In other words, it is intended for those who have received vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen.
However, the regulations leave a void for the incorporation of other types of vaccines, such as Russian Sputnik V or Chinese Sinopharm. However, for these to be valid, they must first have been approved by the authorities of the traveler’s country, as has happened in countries like Hungary or Slovakia.
And in this case, there is also a nuance: people who travel from countries where these vaccines have been unofficially approved, will only be able to use their passport in other countries which have done exactly the same. Thus, the European Commission has tried to give priority to the antidotes approved by the EMA, which give much more possibilities to travel (in case of doing it with only one dose instead of two, the acceptance in the destination country will depend also of what he does. idem).
Therefore, in the case of Spain, where these injections have not been approved, domestic travelers will only be able to stick to the four antidotes that have been used or are expected to be used in recent months.