EU member states adopted guidelines on the proof of vaccination for medical purposes on Thursday, following a proposal by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, his office said on Thursday.
“The first step in the implementation of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ proposal for a European vaccination certificate was made today,” the PM’s office said, according to state-run news agency amna.
The proposal, it added, is a significant start.
“The next step should be the expansion of their uses to facilitate Europeans’ travel, when a large enough percentage will have been vaccinated. In spite of some critics in Greece, the implementation of the prime minister’s proposal is moving along step by step, and the sooner it becomes reality, the better for all,” it highlighted.
According to a European Commission statement the same day, the EU member states and the European Commission adopted the guidelines aiming “for a scheme that can accommodate both paper and digital means, ensuring flexibility and compatibility with existing national solutions, and a rigorous protection of personal data.”
Following the conclusions of the European Council of 10-11 December 2020 and of 21 January 2021, the EU Member States, with the support of the European Commission, adopted guidelines on proof of vaccination for medical purposes.
These guidelines aim to support the interoperability of vaccination certificates, meaning the contents of the vaccination certificates is uniform, and establish a minimum dataset for each certificate.
They also set out the basis for a trust framework to ensure the authenticity and integrity of certificates, on which work will continue in the eHealth Network, including to further specify necessary data protection and security measures.
The guidelines aim for a scheme that can accommodate both paper and digital means, ensuring flexibility and compatibility with existing national solutions, and a rigorous protection of personal data. Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “I welcome the adoption of the guidelines on the proof of vaccination for medical purposes. We need a common approach to vaccination certificates, and I am looking forward to continuing cooperation with the World Health Organization to scale up this tool at global level. Interoperable vaccination certificates will be an important tool for citizens during the pandemic but also after we have overcome it.”
The guidelines are the result of the discussions and reflections in the eHealth Network, as well as first consultations with the Health Security Committee, EMA, ECDC and WHO. The guidelines are mostly targeting COVID-19 vaccination but might be used in the future as a basis for proving vaccination status.
Note that leaders of EU member states rejected last week Greece’s proposal for a “vaccination passport,” saying it was premature at this point.