Now that European countries are moving forward with vaccination programs, the prospect of opening up countries to at the top of the agenda. Although it’s in everyone’s benefit to do so, countries disagree about how best to achieve this and haven’t been able to agree on a coordinated approach. However, it was recently announced that the EU plan to launch a vaccine passport or ‘digital green pass’ that would allow travelers to move freely within Europe for work or tourism. The union hopes to have it up and running to allow movement between 27 of its member states in time for the summer season, which is fantastic news! Unsurprisingly, tourism-reliant economies like Spain and Greece have welcomed the move as they’ve been pushing for a way to help recoup their losses for 2020 and get their economies moving again. However, other governments have expressed concerns.
So, where do these concerns arise? EU leaders have already agreed on the contents of a vaccine certificate, but the digital green pass will include more than that. The proposed format is effectively an App that contains digital records of travelers’ health records such as PCR test results, proof they have had a COVID-19 vaccine, and details of any medical history that may pertain to COVID-19. Even amid assurances that travelers’ security and privacy will be respected, a number of concerns surrounding data protection and the possibility of discrimination between those who have been inoculated and those who haven’t have been voiced.
So, now we await the legislative proposal… I look forward to seeing the full details when they are released later this month. If this is a success, the EU has already suggested it would work with the World Health Organization (WHO) to help expand such a scheme to other areas. Even the United Kingdom has announced discussions it’s having with international partners to implement a similar plan. Let’s hope other regions and travel corridors employ similar protocols and the creases can be ironed out of the EU’s plan and that all the member states concerned can agree on a workable solution. A trip to the Mediterranean in the coming months may not be such an impossible dream for many EU citizens after all.
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