The European Union completed all the legislative procedures needed for the EU COVID-19 vaccine passport for travel to become effective, on June 14, when the Presidents of the three main EU institutions – the Parliament, the Commission, and the Council – signed a Regulation on the document at an official signing ceremony.
According to the EU, the document will help restore the freedom of movement in the block for all those vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), those who have recently recovered from the virus and can prove it, as well as those who test negative.
The EMA, which is the agency of the European Union responsible for the evaluation and supervision of medicinal products, has approved only four Coronavirus vaccines so far, which are: Pfizer; Vaxzevria and Johnson & Johnson.
On the other hand, CureVac; Novavax; Sputnik V and Sinovac are currently under rolling review of EMA, but a decision on their approval is yet to be taken.
According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, the EU COVID-19 vaccine passport for travel has ignited the hopes of many that within a short period, they will be able to travel to Europe, with minimal entry measures.
Africa Tembelea has since learnt that 13 countries are already issuing the passport, two weeks now ahead of the date set for the document to be launched on July 1, including Germany, Greece and Spain.
However, while the document is very promising for a large share of world travellers planning to head to the EU this summer, many may be ineligible to obtain it in spite of being vaccinated.
According to the EU COVID-19 vaccine passport for travel regulation, the Member States are obliged to issue and accept passports only to those who have been vaccinated with one of the vaccines already approved by the EMA.
It remains up to the governments of the Member States to decide whether they want to accept the vaccines that haven’t been approved yet.
“When it comes to waiving free movement restrictions, Member States will have to accept vaccination certificates for vaccines which received EU marketing authorisation. Member States may decide to extend this also to EU travellers that received another vaccine,” a Commission’s factsheet on the document explains.
The same also points out that the Member States can decide by themselves if they accept a vaccination document after one dose or after both doses have been administered.