Leaders of different countries are counting on vaccine passports to bring some sort of normality to international travel. A Covid19 passport is most likely ready before summer according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the virtual EU summit.
Merkel said that “everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate”. She also added that it would take around three months to work on the technicalities for its documents.
During the 2-day digital summit attended by 27 countries, the majority of EU members want an EU-wide approach in COVID19 vaccination certificates rather than individual COVID19 vaccine passports. Though they’ve agreed on the importance of the vaccine certificates, they still haven’t agreed on a unified plan.
Different countries in Europe are looking forward to the resumption of summer travel. Greece, which relies heavily on tourism could benefit from a COVID19 vaccine passport. Greece’s tourism contributes 25% of its annual GDP.
So what’s next if there’s no EU-wide passport by summer? Different countries are having their contingency plan in case leaders can’t agree on how to move forward with the unified COVID19 vaccine passport.
Vienna, though it supports an EU-wide certificate, plans to implement its own vaccine passport if European leaders can’t come up with something by spring. Austria’s COVID19 passport plans to include individuals who tested negative and those who developed immunity by having COVID19.
Denmark, on the other hand, is looking to provide the vaccination status of travelers via their own digital passport. This digital vaccination passport will then be compatible with any EU-wide certification in the future.
COVID19 Passport Discrimination Concerns
Some are concerned that a vaccine passport can cause discrimination. Merkel said that the two groups shouldn’t be treated differently. French President Emmanuel Macron also said that there are ethical issues that should be resolved. He said that these certificates will be unfair for young people who are the last to get vaccinated.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis mentioned that vaccine certificates can split Europe into two groups—the vaccinated and those who haven’t received their vaccine yet.