The European Commission has proposed the creation of "green" digital passports that will allow citizens vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel within the European Union. Passports will be valid until the World Health Organization declares an end to the coronavirus pandemic. The Ukrainian Center for Public Health is convinced that vaccinated Ukrainians will also be able to travel to EU countries.

Proposal for "passports" of vaccination appeared on the website of the European Commission. The innovation was also announced by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

“A digital green passport will be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or was cured of COVID-19. It will be available free of charge in digital or paper format, ”the statement reads.

The future certificate will contain a QR-code to ensure the security and authenticity of the document, as well as an electronic signature. These certificates must be issued to EU citizens and their families, regardless of their nationality. It can also be obtained by people who are not EU citizens but who live in the EU. In addition, certificates can be obtained EU visitors who have the right to travel to other EU member states.

"The Commission will build a gateway to ensure that all certificates can be verified in the EU, and will support EU member states in the technical implementation of certificates," the statement said.

The digital certificate will be valid in all EU member states and open to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. At the same time, if an EU Member State continues to require quarantine or testing certificate holders, it must inform the Commission and all other EU countries and explain the reasons for such measures. According to the commission, this system is a temporary measure, namely until the end of the pandemic.

Which vaccines are already certified in the EU

As of March 17, the European Union has approved coronavirus vaccines from four companies:

  • BioNTech and Pfizer;
  • Modern;
  • AstraZeneca;
  • Johnson & Johnson.

In this case, March 17, the World Health Organization recommended continue to use AstraZeneca, despite doubts from a number of European countries due to possible side effects. In addition, the European regulator is currently considering three more vaccines: Novavax, CureVac, Sputnik V.

Does the EU recognize the CoviShield vaccine?

According to the Center for Public Health, if green passports are approved in the EU, the CoviShield vaccine, which Ukraine has started using, should also allow Ukrainians to travel.

“AstraZeneca and CoviShield are one and the same. There is no difference. The fact that it is produced at the facilities of India is just a nuance. And this is one of those vaccines that is approved by the Ministry of Health in case of a pandemic and is used everywhere in the world, ”the Center for Public Health said in a comment to the Public.

At the same time, the department noted that it is too early to say with which countries Ukraine can sign an agreement on mutual recognition of such vaccination passports.

Will "green passports" be able to stop the epidemic?

On mind infectious disease doctor Igor Markov, it is unlikely that the strategy of using vaccination passports will be effective.

“It is strategically and tactically wrong. What matters is not the vaccination that has been transferred, but the level of the immune response to that vaccine. They can vaccinate a person and he will not have antibodies. A person can get sick. And she has antibodies today, but not in two months, ”he said.

According to the doctor, the presence of vaccination or disease in the past does not preclude the need for PCR testing when crossing the border. Markov clarified that in order to curb the spread of the virus, it is necessary to continue to do both PCR testing and vaccination. Because even a vaccinated person can become a carrier of the virus as a result of re-infection.

He also noted that PCR testing and testing for vaccination at the entrance to the country will not be required only if the 70% population is vaccinated.

Do vaccination passports restrict human rights

As Dmytro Nikiforov, a lawyer, explained to the Public, if a decision is made on “green passports”, a category of people may appear who cannot be vaccinated against their will, and therefore cannot travel. Thus, decisions to restrict entry into the EU can significantly affect Ukrainians, as the level of vaccination in the country is low.

“There will be some categories of people who, due to their health or religious or ethnic beliefs, will not be able to and will not be vaccinated. As for health, these are people who have autoimmune diseases, allergies, pregnant women who actually have no other option and will not be able to be vaccinated. But they will be subject to restrictions that will discriminate against people who do not have these beliefs or health problems, and their freedom of movement will not be restricted, ”the lawyer said.

According to the lawyer, such restrictions could lead to lawsuits, at the national level and in the European Court of Human Rights.

“If at the level of the European Commission, at the level of governments of individual countries the issue of restricting the movement of people who do not have a COVID passport is resolved, it will be a potential lawsuit and most likely the court will decide that the country has no right to discriminate against other categories. the issue of vaccination does not depend on their will, ”Nikiforov stressed.