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EU shows little support for Greece’s “vaccination certificate” for travelers

The European Union sought Monday to ease concerns that citizens might be obliged to get shots against the coronavirus before they’re allowed to travel, as debate swirls over the use of vaccination certificates to help reopen tourism across the 27-nation bloc.

The European Commission has been weighing a Greek proposal to issue vaccination certificates to help get travelers to their vacation destinations more quickly and avoid another disastrous summer for Europe’s tourism sector.

Greece plans to issue digital vaccination certificates to each person inoculated against Covid-19. EU heads of state and government are due to discuss the proposal at a video-summit on Thursday.

According to associatedpress, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic insisted that “vaccination is voluntary.” He noted that some people cannot be inoculated for health reasons while others might simply object.

“We are taking all the precautions that we would not create any ground for different treatment of these people, or any kind of limitations of their rights,” he told reporters after taking part in videoconference talks between European affairs ministers.

Sefcovic said the priority now must be to gather data about the disease and its treatment on digital platforms on a Europe-wide scale so that health experts can compare the way the virus mutates, how the vaccines are working and whether testing standards are harmonized across the 27 member countries.

“We need to make sure that the data would be collected electronically in respect of all data privacy rules and it should be done on interoperable platforms so we can share the data,” he said, adding that it’s need to assess the “efficiency of the vaccines, for the evaluation of the whole vaccination process.”

On Sunday, European Council President Charles Michel said that he sees a danger in introducing  a vaccination certification too quickly.

A vaccination passport would require many people to have already been vaccinated, according to Michel. “If we had to implement it too early, that would create enormous frustration,” he commented.

Charles Michel said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one since some people could have the impression that vaccination would, de facto, become compulsory. He said “it’s not because a debate is complicated or sensitive that you must avoid it.”

According to the European Council president, the debate will be launched this week at the Summit on Thursday, January 21.

Informal discussions between the leaders of European Union countries have been going on over the past few weeks, he said, focusing basically on two questions: “Do we agree on the principle of introducing a certificate?” and, “If we agree, when is it appropriate?”

Vaccinations have started across the 27-nation EU, but it is unclear what proportion of the population will be vaccinated in time for the summer holiday season.

France and Germany reportedly oppose such a vaccination passport and the WHO has also expressed its objection.

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  1. Excuse me, but if you have had the vaccin you are free to enter the border, if you have not, leave a PCR-test at the border and wait for the result. How hard can that be? The only thing that you would need is a EU-certificate, valid in all EU-countries. Thats a good idea from Greece. Of course it is your own desition if you want the vaccin or not, but, to stop the damned virus we all have to do our part!

  2. Marcelis Vanmechelen

    Hi Mika, if I understand you correctly, according to you, people that are vaccinated shouldn’t do a test at the border anymore and only people that are not vaccinated should take this test, right? Why do you propose that? From what I have read, the vaccine doesn’t avoid infection, so even if you are vaccinated you can carry the virus and pass it on to other people. So I don’t really understand the reason for what you propose, if the vaccine only avoids that a person doesn’t become sick. Regards, Marc

  3. Then I must ask, how will the vaccin stop the pandemia???? Maybe you have information that I have not got but it sounds not good in my ears! If you still carry the virus and can give it to others then we all can forget to travel this summer! Poor greeks, no income from turism this year either…..