The European Covid Certificate will enter into force on 1 July, after the final approval of the European Parliament, and will allow you to travel throughout the Union without undergoing swabs or quarantines. The certificate, based on a QR code and digitally signed, will be available via app, email or in paper format.

No longer a pass but a certificate.

The Council, the Commission and the Parliament have finally reached an agreement on the vaccination pass which will allow travel to Europe to resume with the arrival of summer. The agreement of the European institutions, which will be discussed by the leaders of the individual states at the extraordinary Council on 24 and 25 May, will then have to be translated into a regulation of the European Parliament, which will enter into force on 1 July and will last 12 months.

It will be called Eu digital Covid Certificate, and not Green pass, and the new name already says that it is not a passport, but a certification. That is to say that the document will not be a precondition for travel to Europe, where the principle of free movement must always and in any case be guaranteed, but it will be a tool to facilitate travel. Those in possession of the digital certificate certifying vaccination with EMA approved sera or test negativity can avoid quarantine, self-isolation or the obligation to have swabs, once they arrive in another European country. Any restrictive measures will in any case be possible should a State deem them “necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”, provided that it notifies the Commission and the other member states 48 hours before the regulations come into force. Before leaving, therefore, even if you already have the European certificate, it is always good to check that the destination country has not just introduced further travel restrictions.

But how is the Covid Certificate obtained and how will it be done?

Those who have already been vaccinated with a serum recognized by the EMA will be able to obtain the European certificate. A novelty compared to the initial proposal is that even European citizens residing outside the Union will be able to obtain the pass if they have had a vaccine recognized by the EMA, as is the case for example in the United Kingdom or the United States. Individual states may possibly extend the validity of the document to vaccination with other sera not approved by the European Drug Authority. Alternatively, the Covid Certificate can be obtained after having carried out a test with a negative result. At the moment, those who have already had the disease are excluded, but in the future, with a delegated act, the green light could also be given to those who carry out a serological test that proves the presence of antibodies.

The body or facility that carries out the vaccine or test will digitally sign the certificate, associated with a QR code. The digital signature will serve to prevent falsification or fraud. The document will be downloadable via the app, or you can ask to receive it by email or in paper format. The personal data contained in the Covid Certificate must not be stored by the countries of destination, in respect of the privacy of European citizens. We do not yet know if it will be totally free or will have a small cost to pay, what is certain at the moment is that the Commission has committed itself to allocating 100 million euros to meet the request for gratuitousness that the European Parliament has strongly supported.

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Healthcare in the covid-19 emergency
Gribaudi Maria Nefeli, ALTALEX EDITOR, 2020