Technology

When can I travel if I don’t have it?

Madrid

Publication: Friday, April 16, 2021 09:19

Spain is already working on the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination certificate, a document created by the European Commission and which aims to “facilitate the free movement” of EU members over the coming months.

However, as indicated by the Ministry of Health itself, it will not be operational until the end of June, when multiple doubts remain about how its implementation could affect the rights of those who do not. have not received the vaccine. We answer the main questions:

Who can use the vaccination certificate?

Although its main function is to accredit the vaccination of EU residents, this document collects all kinds of health information regarding the coronavirus. So, although it is primarily used for travel by vaccinated people, it can also serve as a safe-conduct if the traveler in question has undergone a PCR test, for example.

Thus, the certificate indicates whether the person received the vaccine or not, the number of doses they received and even the batch of drug that was used in their vaccination, among other data. But also information that goes beyond vaccines, in particular on the tests that may have been carried out on the traveler: from the PCR to the notification of having defeated the coronavirus.

Will I be able to travel if I don’t have it?

The answer is yes, and on this point the European Commission has been blunt. In fact, according to the proposal itself endorsed by member countries, non-discrimination is one of the key points: “The digital green certificate aims to facilitate free movement within the EU and the easing of restrictions current, and not to restrict the right to freedom of movement and the right to travel, ”writes the entity.

In other words, member countries, according to the text, cannot in any way 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. PCR test or antigen test. , depending on the country). “This regulation cannot be interpreted as establishing an obligation or a right to be vaccinated”, they stress.

When will it go live?

The intention of the EC is for the certificate to be operational “before the summer”, but as Digital Health Secretary General Alfredo González announced on Thursday, it should not be used until the end of the month. June.

In this sense, countries are already working on data collection and establishing the format of the document as requested by official entities. “Member States will have to apply the agreed technical standards and trust framework in the electronic health network. It is expected that the technical work and the proposal will be concluded in the coming months,” says the Commission.

What will it look like and how will I have to present it?

The vaccination certificate, dubbed by the EU as “digital green certificate”, will be completely free, will have a QR code which makes it easy to read and, in addition, will be bilingual, as it contains the 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: despite this description of “green” and “digital”, it can also be presented on paper. Of course, you must always have with you, either on your mobile or on a folio, the code which allows the host country to verify the traveler’s vaccination. In other words, when it comes to showing it at the airport, it will have the same functionality as the plane ticket: you can take it both on the phone, for example, and on a printed sheet. .

And what vaccines are included in the certificate?

The European Commission has slipped various possibilities on this issue. But finally, as the project indicates, “Member States must issue vaccination certificates regardless of the type of vaccine against COVID-19”. However, this obligation is limited to vaccines that have received an EU-wide 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 gap for the incorporation of other types of vaccines, such as the Russian Sputnik V or the 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 traveling from countries where these vaccines have been unofficially approved will only be able to use their passports in other countries that have done the exact same thing. Thus, the European Commission has tried to give priority to the antidotes endorsed 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 receiving country will depend also of what he does the same).

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 or should be in recent months.

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