Spain calls for vaccination certificate scheme for travellers

Spain calls for vaccination certificate scheme for travellers
Photo: AFP
Spain is calling on EU nations to support a scheme that would see travellers required to show Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

Spain is pushing in the European Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine certification that would ease travel, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez confirmed on Thursday.

“Vaccine certification is something we are going towards inevitably,” she said during an interview on RNE national radio.  “It will be a very important element to guarantee a safe return to mobility.”

EU leaders will on Thursday (21 January) discuss via videoconference the introduction of vaccination certificates for travellers who have already received their jabs.

Introducing vaccination certificates could mean lifting border closures and easing freedom of movement within the EU.

Earlier in the week Reyes Maroto, Spain’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, expressed support for EU recognised vaccination certificates or “immunity passports” arguing that it could help kickstart the stricken travel industry.

“Reaching immunity is a key milestone to generate confidence to travel,” she said pointing out that a vaccine certificate could put an end to the need for current restrictions such as quarantine and compulsory PCR tests.

“We can agree in principle that we should work on common standards, and interoperability. We want to avoid things being blocked because vaccines are not recognised in one particular country,” said a senior EU official quoted in the EU Observer.

The videoconference summit will discuss coordinating on the matter to avoid member states not recognising each others' vaccinate documentations, something which has been seen with Covid-19 tests for travellers which resulted in some EU countries not recognising each others' testing.  

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not support immunity passports as being a way to restart travel, due to it still being unclear if vaccines can prevent transmission.

They also warned that the current vaccine rollout is not yet at a level across Europe which would allow the new passports.

The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization Committee said: “Being vaccinated should not exempt international travellers from complying with other travel risk reduction measures.”

Countries which are not in agreement with the vaccine passports include Romania and France, both of which fear it would cause a divide in countries.

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