The European Commission has unveiled its proposal for a “digital green certificate,” or vaccine passport, to allow safe and free movement within the European Union during the pandemic.
The certificate will confirm that the person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from Covid-19 that can be used in all European Union member states, the Commission announced on Wednesday.
The certificate can also be used in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland and will be “open to initiatives being developed globally,” as the commission said in a fact sheet sent to CNN.
The proposal was unveiled as the Commission called on member states to prepare for a “coordinated approach to gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions” when the pandemic situation permits, ahead of the European leaders’ meeting on 25 March.
“Today we are proposing a common approach to the European Union that will lead us on the path towards our goal of reopening the European Union in a safe, sustainable and predictable manner. The situation with the virus in Europe remains very difficult, and confidence in the decisions taken is crucial.” Said Stella. Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety in a press release, it is only through a common approach that we can safely return to full freedom of movement in the European Union, based on transparent measures and full mutual trust.
The green digital certificate will contain a QR code with a digital signature to “protect it from fraud. When the certificate is scanned, the QR code is scanned and the signature verified.”
Each issuing body (for example, a hospital, testing center, health authority) has its own digital signature key and all of them are stored in a secure database in each country.
The European Commission will set up a portal through which all certification signatures can be verified across the European Union.
The committee suggested that member states issue vaccination certificates regardless of the type of COVID-19 vaccine. And people who have been vaccinated before the digital green certificate is issued must have the possibility to obtain the necessary certificate of vaccination.
No specific expiration date has been set for the certificates, as the UNHCR said they will be suspended once the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the international public health emergency caused by COVID-19 is over.
She added that the commission is working to ensure that the certificates comply with the regulations of other countries outside the European Union.