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Eine mögliche Visualisierung des geplanten digitalen Impfpass liegt neben einem analogen Impfpass. (imago / Future Image / C. Hardt)

The “green certificate” – this is how vaccinated people will travel in the European Union in the future

Ambassadors of the European Union countries agreed on a common line of so-called “green certification”. With this evidence, among other things, for Corona vaccination, travel in the European Union should be easier. What exactly is planned and when will it be ready – an overview.

What is a “green certification”?

The “green certificate” is a digital document that member states plan to apply throughout the European Union in the future. Among other things, this should clarify whether and when someone was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and with what active ingredient. But it must also be able to provide information about whether someone’s test result is negative or has actually survived Covid-19 disease. This information must be recoverable in a way that is not tamper-proof via barcode. The document must be issued in the respective national language and in the English language.

What powers do people who have been vaccinated with an EU certificate?

It is not clear what advantages the certification will bring to the vaccinated. Since every country has to define this on their own, the rules can look very different. Countries also have to decide for themselves whether they also recognize vaccinations using preparations that have only been approved in certain countries but not in the entire European Union – such as vaccines from Russia or China. Many states are likely to waive their obligation to screen or isolate people who have tested positive. It would also be envisioned that people would be able to visit places like restaurants, cinemas or museums without only slight restrictions or restrictions. For example, Denmark announced that with the introduction of the “green certificate”, summer vacation in the country should be possible for those who have been vaccinated, those who have tested negative, and people who have survived infection with the Coronavirus.

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How far is the European Union project?

European Union countries have agreed on a common line of certification. Commissioner Reynders welcomed a similar agreement on Twitter by ambassadors from the 27 member states. Accordingly, the certificate must be free of charge and can be issued on paper or digitally. Details will be voted on by the European Parliament in the week of April 26. After that, negotiations should start with the European Union. A “green certification” is due to be introduced at the end of June. The rules must initially apply for a period of twelve months.

Meanwhile, the technical framework terms have been defined. Standardized QR codes must be used for certificate retrieval to ensure that all certificates can be read as well. In addition, security mechanisms are included in the fraud prevention guidelines.

What about plans to obtain a digital vaccination certificate in Germany?

In Germany, plans are underway to issue a digital vaccination card, which will ultimately be a “green certificate” according to European Union rules. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, a matching application is supposed to be available between mid-May and end-June. However, it is also possible that the introduction of vaccination will be possible in the application of the current Corona warning. Vaccinated people must obtain a certificate at the vaccination center or at a doctor’s office – digitally or in hard copy form. This can then be entered into an app. Another application should then be able to validate the certificate. The system is being developed as an open source project by a consortium made up of IBM, Ubirch, Govdigital and Bechtle.

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The rights associated with the digital vaccination certificate have not been determined. Young Health Minister announced that in the foreseeable future, vaccinated people will be granted the same rights as those who have tested negative, for example when shopping or visiting museums. The federal government is currently looking into a procedure to enable those who have already been fully vaccinated to retrospectively obtain their certification. In Germany, a person is considered to have been fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second vaccination.

Where are vaccinated people allowed to travel now?

Some holiday countries like Greece or Cyprus pay for certification months ago. Economically, they are highly dependent on tourism. That is why the two countries agreed that Israelis who had been vaccinated without quarantine would enter in bilateral agreements weeks ago. Meanwhile, this is also planned to vaccinate European Union citizens; The German Foreign Ministry has not yet released any information on this topic. Israel itself wants to receive groups of inoculated tourists again, starting May 23. Details of the admission requirements are still being published. Denmark plans to allow vaccinated people who come from countries with very low infection numbers to enter the country without testing and quarantine starting in May. Gradually, cruise companies in the United States and tourist spots in Thailand also want to introduce model projects for people who have been vaccinated.

(Base: 25.4.2021)

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This message was broadcast on April 27, 2021 on Deutschlandfunk.