EU Vaccine Passport
Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese, Russian, and Indian companies may not be able to enter the European Union (EU) member countries using the vaccine passport scheme.
The exception came to light after the EU completed the legislative process for the vaccine certificate scheme. The European scheme will people to enter who have received COVID-19 vaccines.
As reported by the Schengen Visa Information website, the vaccine must be included in the list produced by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Vaccines currently on the list are from Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.
In the list published on the EMA website, none of the vaccines produced in China or Russia, such as Sinovac and Sputnik, are included.
However, the EU’s website states, “Member states have the option to also receive vaccine certificates issued based on vaccines already approved at the national level or by the World Health Organisation (WHO).”
The COVID-19 certificate is a document that will be a requirement for entering and exiting European Union countries along with a visa. Any individual holding these documents can travel to all EU countries without the need for quarantine or COVID-19 screening.
Travellers who have not been vaccinated or recipients of other types of vaccines can still enter Europe with a COVID test certificate or recovery certificate.
The test certificate provides evidence of travellers having tested negative for COVID-19. Meanwhile, recovery certificates can be given to those who have suffered with and recovered from the virus.
“The European Union Digital Covid Recovery Certificate confirms that the holder has recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection after having previously tested positive. This certificate must be issued no later than 11 days after the first positive test,” the European Commission said in a statement.
So far, eight Schengen countries have begun issuing digital COVID-19 vaccine passports, having started in early June. The eight countries are Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Switzerland, and Poland. Meanwhile, Iceland is trying to implement a pilot system similar to this COVID-19 vaccine passport.
One of the purposes of making a COVID-19 passport is to start loosening travel restrictions while still observing strict health protocols. The EU Commission has pushed for the bloc’s member states to remove travel barriers for residents and migrants holding these passports.
“When travelling, every holder of a Digital Green Certificate will have the same rights as nationals of member countries who have been vaccinated, screened, and recovered,” the EU Commission said.