Publication: Monday, March 1, 2021 10:58
The European Commission plans to present a first draft regulation for the digital vaccination certificate in March, according to the organization’s president, Ursula Von der Leyen, on Monday.
The creation of a European health passport, announced at the European summit which ended last Friday, faces enormous political, operational and legal difficulties.
Thus, doubts remain as to who this certification would be intended for or how it would be implemented.
Who can access the certificate?
Regarding Spain, the Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón, indicated that this document could be valid to facilitate tourist mobility – which was also proposed at the end of January by the Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto .
However, as the director of the CCAES, Fernando Simón, also defended this Thursday at a press conference, its main use should be sanitary. “This may be valid so that a person vaccinated with the first dose who moves from one state to another, for example from Spain to France, can receive the second,” Calzón added.
Thus, it was not clarified whether the common certificate for EU members could be issued for single or double dose individuals. And even less in terms of tourism, which the European Council did not discuss either. On the other hand, it would be possible to facilitate the vaccination of people who have been left halfway in the process.
What is the “COVID passport”?
The immunity passport offered by the EU consists of a certificate that certifies the vaccination of citizens of the European area. The technical form in which it would take has not yet been defined, although there is already the example of Poland, which established a QR code for people vaccinated.
In addition, within our own borders, the first region to implement it was Andalusia. However, this certification is for purely medical use, so that patients can notify that they have received the injection. In other words, it does not serve as a safe-conduct to travel between communities or outside the country, although the Andalusian Ministry of Health has raised it.
Which countries want to implement it?
In her appearance after the summit held between European countries on Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that the implementation of the immunity passport is something that every member of the European Union has demanded.
Some leaders have been particularly clear on the proposal: for example, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz urged moving it forward before everyone else: “I think this project should be implemented in the spring, if not not in all of Europe, we will have to do it. at national level and with agreements with other countries which have similar policies ”, he indicated during a press conference before the summit of the European bloc .
What does Spain think?
Spain is another of the countries that has been on the list of territories seeking its introduction, and has been for weeks. On Monday, the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, demanded the need to move forward in the adoption of common protocols in all Member States to avoid bans on the movement of travelers within the internal market and also with third countries.
She defended “that certificates are a useful and effective tool to resume mobility in a safe way”, in addition, the minister insisted that “efforts be redoubled to ensure better coordination and communication of measures related to travel at the level of the EU in order to avoid discriminatory measures between citizens and restore confidence between travelers. ”
Maroto insisted that “it is important to have the tools ready to start mobility and to put Europe back as a safe travel destination when virus incidence data allows”.
“If we hurry (to lift the restrictions on Easter), we risk a de-escalation that is going very well,” the third vice-president of the government, Nadia Calviño, told La 1 on Monday.
“The reactivation of tourism must be our priority objective”, according to the vice-president, who indicated that for the summer, the executive is working “on the activation of a vaccination passport”.
Even so, although Merkel indicated that all countries agreed, some territories were particularly skeptical of this new path, such as France or Romania. More precisely, in the Gallic country, the ethical problems that the measure would involve are feared. A fact with which the World Health Organization (WHO) has also expressed its doubts, in particular by stating that “the impact of vaccines on reducing transmission is still unknown and the current availability of doses is too limited”.
When will it be approved?
The European Commission (EC) now has three months to define the technical conditions of this system, while the leaders estimate that it will be operational “in the months to come” and “for the summer”, according to the Chancellor.
It is an initiative, according to the German leader, which could serve to revive international movements within the EU. Even with some “third countries”. Even so, Merkel, during her speech, never mentioned tourism.
What are you asking now for travel?
According to the Foreign Ministry, the Interterritorial Health Council has agreed to require international travelers from countries at risk – a list that is reviewed by authorities every two weeks – a negative PCR test for infection with coronavirus active within 72 hours of arrival.
Thus, all travelers from countries where the cumulative incidence rate in 14 days is 50 or more (as well as the test positivity rate is greater than 4%) must undergo these tests.
However, regarding the implementation of the measure under discussion by the EU on Spanish territory, Fernando Simón prefers to speak of a “certificate” rather than a passport, and underlines that there are still many aspects to be reviewed: “I am not skeptical i am cautious because you need to provide security guarantees to follow up and there are many factors to consider.
According to Simón, “there can be misinterpretations and abuses”, due to the “technological, social and economic complexities” that the document would entail: “They are not easy to handle. There is a bet for an interoperable certificate. between European regions. This is very important because of its clinical utility: so that a person who switches to another state can receive the second dose, “said the expert.