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EU vaccination passport plan aims to allow the opening of borders in summer

Spain's PM Pedro Sánchez attends the extraordinary meeting of the European Council by videoconference.
Spain's PM Pedro Sánchez attends the extraordinary meeting of the European Council by videoconference. / EFE
  • The digital health certificate will identify those who have been jabbed, produced a negative PCR test or have antibodies after overcoming the coronavirus

The so-called vaccination passport could be a reality by the summer in Europe.

But, for now, the red light for non-essential international travel will remain on and the priority is to speed up the vaccination process to meet the challenge of reaching the target of 255 million immunised Europeans by 21 September.

These were the key notes after the first day of a Covid-19 summit of European leaders that was held by videoconference this Thursday (25 February).

The European Council meeting revealed that the digital health certificate already has majority support in the EU, and that there are even deadlines.

At the end of the meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel assured that the European partners will launch the scheme "for the summer", which could make intra-border travel possible.

And from Brussels, the president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also referred to a vaccination passport arriving "in time for summer".

There was agreement on at least three pieces data that this digital certificate would carry and serve as a reference for all member states: proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test or the presence of antibodies after having overcome the disease.

“This will be a valid and useful tool. We must continue working on its development jointly to prevent each country from developing its own formula, prevent unfair situations and guarantee the protection of personal data," said Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez.

Leaders also discussed the supply of doses to reach the goal of vaccinating 70 per cent of Europeans by the end of summer. There was discussion about how to speed up production, the delivery schedule and exports. And from some capitals a tougher approach was demanded with "an export ban on companies that do not respect their commitments".

Between April and May an average of one hundred million doses per month is expected from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The Janssen vaccine is also expected to arrive from March.