Angela Merkel: Vaccination certificates are being introduced; EU leaders unanimous

Angela Merkel says digital vaccination certificates, which will allow people to travel to Europe despite the pandemic, are likely to be available before summer.

Source: B92, Tanjug
Tanjug/ John MacDougall/Pool Photo via AP
Tanjug/ John MacDougall/Pool Photo via AP

"Everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate," Angela Merkel said at a press conference after the EU summit, which is being held online, Reuters reports.

The German Chancellor added that the European Commission will need about three months to develop a technical basis for such documents.

The heads of state and government of the European Union last spoke four weeks ago. The vaccination strategy, suppression of virus mutations, travel restrictions and vaccination confirmations were on the agenda. At today's video conference, the topics are, as announced - exactly the same.

Ursula von der Leyen: At least 3 months to establish a certification system

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, says that it will be up to the member states to make decisions on "what can be done with certificates", and that at the EU level, they will be used for the functioning of the common market.

Von der Leyen stated that it will take at least three months to establish an interoperable system of vaccination certificates in the EU. “The system will support information about a person’s vaccination, negative PCR test, or immunity. We need fast implementation if we want these certificates to be functional before the summer", Von der Leyen concluded.

The EU emphasizes that there are still a lot of open both "political and scientific" issues when it comes to vaccination certificates, i.e. what they will be used for or whether vaccination means the cessation of transmission of the infection.

"We have encouraging data from Israel where Pfizer vaccines have been shown to stop the transmission of infection after revaccination," says Von der Leyen.

She adds that the EU has so far received 50 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19, of which 29 million have been spent on vaccinating citizens, which represents eight percent of the adult population in the EU. France and Germany also agreed that COVID-19 "came to stay", after EU leaders discussed ways to fight new variants of the virus, increase vaccinations and save the European tourism industry from another devastating summer.

The leaders of the 27 EU member states confirmed at the conference that they would maintain "firm restrictions" on public life and free movement as the bloc fights against the emergence of new variants that hamper economic recovery.

"We have to prepare for the situation that we have to vaccinate continuously for a longer period of time, maybe years, because of new variants of the coronavirus, similar to the situation we know from the flu," Merkel said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the EU "will have to live with this virus in the long run".

The summit's chairman, European Council President Charles Michel, said the bloc wanted "greater predictability and transparency" from pharmaceutical companies that had not delivered the agreed quantities of vaccines, risking the EU failing to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of its adult population by the end of the summer.

Although the rate of infection is declining in about 20 EU member states, there are concerns about the new leaps in the number of newly infected because the coronavirus strain, first discovered in Great Britain, spreads quickly, according to Reuters.


"The rich destroyed the system"

The Head of WHO accused some rich countries of undermining the COVAX program of distribution of the anti-virus vaccine, intended primarily for poor countries.

World Monday, February 22, 2021 17:27 Comments: 0
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