by Seth BUTERA May 12, 2021
The European Union is working to establish a vaccine certificate program to facilitate inter-nation travel ahead of summer.
Vaccine rates are increasing and lockdowns are lifting around Europe and this is giving hope to many Europeans that vacations will take place as the weather warms.
In March, government officials in Europe approved the creation of a European Union-wide COVID-19 certification program to help restart international tourism, but there are still issues to work out.
According to the Associated Press, several sticking points remain in the development of the program, which was supposed to be up and running by the end of June.
The European Parliament insists that COVID-19 certificates should be enough to facilitate free movement. However, border controls are a national responsibility and several countries hold different options about the issue.
There were also issues regarding the price of Covid-19 testing so as not to discriminate against those who have yet to receive a vaccine.
According to the AP, EU lawmakers said member states should “ensure universal, accessible, timely and free-of-charge testing,” but the cost of testing varies widely between countries.
“It’s a free market, we can only try to see if there is a possibility that the price of the tests can be lowered,” said Ana Paula Zacarias, Portugal’s Secretary of State for EU Affairs.
There is agreement on which vaccines will be accepted, which includes those approved by the European Medicines Agency, the EU’s drug regulator: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. There is also the possibility that World Health Organization-approved vaccines such as China’s Sinopharm could also accepted.
Testing of the technical aspects of the vaccine certificate scheme will begin to be tested this week in several EU countries.