Greece started talking to the EU Commission back in January about a coronavirus vaccine passport and it was met initially with some lackluster support. However, today, the EU commission president said that they will propose a Covid-19 vaccine passport this month.
Covid-19 Vaccine Passport to be Proposed by the EU
What is a Covid-19 Vaccine Passport?
The idea of a Covid-19 vaccine passport is a way to streamline travel opportunities for those who have received both stages of the two-dose vaccine (or a single dose of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine). It is a digital “passport” or “Digital Green Pass” that identifies with a quick scan about the information of the individual, related to the vaccine.
This would include things like when and where the vaccine was given and which vaccine was received. It would also give information on the test results for those who have not received the vaccine, as well information on Covid-19 recovery.
In some countries, this is being done as a simple QR code but that is something that is not exactly secure, either. Israel has found thousands producing counterfeit “passports” since the QR code is not encrypted in any way and just has the basic information that anyone could generate. The EU Commission president said it “will respect data protection, security & privacy” as well as saying that “The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism.”
What Will be the Use of the Covid-19 Vaccine Passport?
Greece is already planning on having one on their own and had made it clear that they would be prepared to go ahead by themselves if the EU did not similarly back a vaccine passport – but that they would not exclude anyone from entering that had not had the vaccine.
One of the countries that had not been wild about the idea was France. This is due to the obvious downside of such a passport – excluding those who had not received the vaccine. It could easily create a two-track system in the countries with those that have had it and those who have not. France does not want anyone to be excluded if they have not received the vaccine.
In the case of Israel, the vaccine is not even available to the 700,000 people who have already had Covid-19 and recovered from it. Their version of a digital passport for the vaccine also covers those individuals who have recovered from the virus, even though they have not had the vaccine. This would be the goal of the EU version as well.
Most likely, this Covid-19 vaccine passport would simply make it that travelers who have this digital passport to easily move throughout Europe, and eventually, the rest of the world. It would mean they could enter various countries without needing a test or having to quarantine. This will be the reason for this passport to move forward.