Digital Vaccine Passports: Coming to the EU Soon

Thomas FairbairnJune 9, 20215min0

EU citizens will be pleased to hear that a vaccine passport is not far away. 

Although certain European countries have already issued passports, the EU Commission has completed its procedures for the launch of the continent-wide certificate, and it’s now up to member states to implement it in their countries. And this will be happening in all member states by July 1.  

 “When travelling, every Digital Green Certificate holder will have the same rights as citizens of the visited member state who have been vaccinated, tested or recovered,” said the Commission.  

 The certificate, issued digitally or in paper form, contains information on when the vaccine was administered, who manufactured it, and other information that border agents should know. It’s hoped these documents will enable widespread travel across Europe once more – without the need for quarantining or testing.  

For our European finalists, this will be welcome news. But what about the UK?  

Well, the NHS app currently has a feature that shows your vaccination status. But there aren’t many countries that accept this at border control.  

Over the weekend, former prime minister Tony Blair advocated for comprehensive biometric passports, but he faced a lukewarm reception from the British media. In his interview with Blair, the BBC’s Andrew Marr condemned the plans as “unworkable” and “ID cards by the back door.”  

There has also been concern about what vaccine passports mean for social inclusion. Susan Michie, a health psychology professor at University College London, said, “the idea of vaccine passports when not everyone has been offered the vaccination and when there are disparities that have not been adequately addressed is very problematic. It is likely to increase social divisions between different sectors of society.” 

The UK government will likely require proof of vaccination for large live events, such as music festivals, but not for smaller-scale venues like pubs. And there are no signs yet that a comprehensive vaccine passport, such as the one being issued in the EU, will be official policy in Britain.  

What do you think about this? Do you believe vaccine passports are a sensible use of digital or are they unfair? Email with your views!  

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Thomas Fairbairn

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