EU ministers call for unified criteria regarding Covid pass

File photo. An elderly person receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by a nurse at the vaccination center of Beziers, France, 19 March 2021. [EPA-EFE/Guillaume Horcajuelo]

Slovenia’s Janez Poklukar said that the informal meeting of the EU health ministers in Brdo pri Kranju on Tuesday asked for unified criteria to implement the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides also called for coordination.

Answering questions on unified rules regarding COVID-19 vaccination, Poklukar said, “the European Medicines Agency has provided broad common recommendations, and local experts must adjust decisions on the national level on the basis of these recommendations.”

Current differing rules on vaccines, certificates, and protocols results across the EU remains a challenge for citizens, travellers, and authorities.

Poklukar added that the commitments made by the European Parliament were being followed, with each member state adjusting the use of COVID certificates in accordance with their recommendations.

Kyriakides said that certificates had been in use since 1 July. “Member states agreed with it,” she said, also noting the importance of coordination and joint action by the EU member states, which would be continued.

The EU commissioner added that she had called on the ministers not to forget the rest of the world regarding vaccination and to fulfil their global commitments. “Until the rest of the world is vaccinated, we are not safe.”

Poklukar also said that the pandemic had exposed vulnerabilities of healthcare systems, so the ministers agreed that action should be taken now and enhance cooperation between member states, especially in the availability and supply of medications.

He added that the ministers had supported the proposals of the Slovenian EU presidency regarding the need for enhanced cooperation, increased financial investment in healthcare and support for innovative solutions for resilient health systems.

Receiving the greatest support were proposals for the better drawing of EU funds for investments in healthcare and recognition of cases of best practice in efficient healthcare systems that could be introduced in other member states, Poklukar said.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]

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