Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Over One Million EU Citizens Have Obtained Their COVID Vaccination Passports

Over one million European citizens have obtained their EU COVID-19 passport since the seven European Union members started issuing the document on June 1, and later this week, Lithuania and Spain Joined the list.

The figures were revealed by the EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders ahead of yesterday’s vote at the Parliament on the document, during which plenary the regulation on the COVID-19 certificate was approved with 546 votes to 93 and 51 abstentions (EU citizens) and with 553 to 91 and 46 abstentions (third-country nationals).

With this Regulation, every EU citizen will have the right to receive such a certificate, whether he/she is vaccinated, tested or recovered. Thanks to the joint commitment of the 🇪🇺institutions, the certificate will make it easier for EU citizens to exercise their fundamental right to free movement everywhere in Europe from this summer onwards,” the Commissioner tweeted ahead of the plenary.

He also pointed out that so far, over a million Europeans have received the new EU COVID-19 vaccine certificate, “and many more will follow in the weeks and months to come.”

The EU COVID vaccination passport has been created by the EU in a bid to restore the freedom of travel in the block, which has been put at a halt for over a year now since the pandemic erupted all over the world.

The certificates are being issued by nine countries so far – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, and Spain. The rest of the countries are technically ready to connect to the EUDCC gateway, except for Finland, Hungary, Malta, Switzerland, and Norway, which are in the testing phase.

The document will be issued to three categories of people:

  • Vaccinated persons
  • Those who have recovered from the virus
  • Those who test for COVID-19 and result negative

Further commenting on the number of certificates issued so far, Commissioner Reynders said that the more countries start to issue the certificates before the deadline, the better, in order to avoid a demand for certificates that can’t be met at the beginning of July.

The more certificates we can already issue, the easier the process will be during the summer – otherwise, we risk a big bang on July 1, which we cannot afford,” Reynders said.

In yesterday’s plenary meeting during which the Parliament gave the final green light to the regulation on EU vaccine certificates, the MEPs also managed to secure an agreement with the Member States, to prevent the latter from imposing additional travel restrictions on certificate holders like as quarantine, self-isolation or testing- “unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.

Over a year ago, in April 2020, reported that the vaccine requirement would become mandatory for travel throughout the EU once it was approved and available.

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