EU vaccination certificate will allow ‘resuming normality’, says Portuguese minister

The European Commission said on Monday that it will present later this month a legislative proposal to create a free-transit digital pass to allow EU citizens to travel again at a time of pandemic. [Shutterstock/Robert Avgustin]

A proposal for an EU-wide vaccination certificate, due to be presented this month by the European Commission, will allow “resuming normality” in the daily lives of European citizens in the best possible conditions, Portugal’s health minister Marta Temido has said.

“Today, more than ever, we need a common approach to the safe movement of our citizens,” Temido told a press conference after chairing a virtual meeting of EU health ministers.

The European Commission said on Monday that it will present later this month a legislative proposal to create a free-transit digital pass to allow EU citizens to travel again at a time of pandemic.

Asked what information will be available in this digital tool, Temido explained that “it is clear that one of the aspects is the vaccination status” of citizens, that is, “whether the person has been vaccinated or not”.

“But it may refer to other important information, for example, regarding the circumstance of the person having already undergone a COVID-19 test and the result of that test or information about whether the person has had COVID-19 or not”.

The proposal will be formally presented by the EU executive on 17 March, said European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas.

This “European product” will have a “strong digital component” in which information will be available “such as whether a COVID-19 vaccination was given or not, test results, the recovery, data privacy legislation, all the necessary security requirements,” he said.

“We are aware of the enormous efforts and sacrifices that the people of Europe are making right now. We know that they carry a huge burden on their shoulders, and we want to lighten that burden, we want to organise the opening up of the European Union in a secure way,” he added.

The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said the EU is waiting for an increase in production of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks of March, as well as for the evaluation of other vaccines.

“To date, 33 million doses have been administered and at least 11 million Europeans have already been vaccinated,” she said, emphasising that the EU executive is working “to establish contacts with companies to try to increase vaccine capacity”.

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[Edited by Frédéric Simon]

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