Ursula von der Leyen: Vaccine certificates expected by summer

On the vaccination certificates: Indeed, we discussed this topic. As you know, there are still a number of open questions, political questions. https://www.eudebates.tv/debates/eu-policies/health-eu-policies/european-alarm-for-the-increased-threat-of-variants/ The first one is of course what these certificates will be used for. But there are also scientific questions that are still open. It is still unclear whether you can transmit the disease, even if you are vaccinated. Although, that is a concern that will wane as the vaccination rate increases. We have promising data from Israel where the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine shows that when you are fully vaccinated with a double shot, you are no more transmitting the disease. So finally, the decision on what you are able to do potentially with such a vaccination certificate is to be decided particularly within each country.

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But at the EU level, I believe we should use them to ensure the functioning of the Single Market. And the good news is: We do not start from scratch. At the end of January, the Member States, with the support of the Commission, agreed on what kind of data are needed for such a vaccination certificate for medical purposes. So very simple: it is a uniform content – which kind of vaccine has been used – ; it is a unique identifier – like an IBAN code – ; and a minimum dataset that is necessary for each certificate.

Now, the Member States need to implement that in their healthcare systems and their border systems to make sure that their healthcare system is fit for purpose. And we offer, from the Commission side, to coordinate on the standards – like we have done with the tracing apps – and to create a gateway that connects the different national solutions with each other so that this information is interoperable over time. This takes a while, so this takes at least around three months. That is important, so that expectations are not too early too high.

And it is very important that this system is neutral to political choices. So you can pass the information ‘this person has been vaccinated’; you can also pass the information ‘this person has a negative PCR test’; or for example ‘this person has overcome COVID-19 and is immune’. So it is neutral towards the information. It is just a technical work that has to be done now. Member States will need to move fast with the implementation if we want such a ‘green certificate’ to be in place by this summer. Beyond agreeing on the principles and the technology, they will have to ensure a quick and complete roll-out in their national health systems and in their border systems.


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