E.U. Approves COVID-19 Certification Program to Restart Tourism

Austria, Europe, COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine passports, travel restrictions
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The European Union has approved a COVID-19 certification program that will restart travel across its 27 member nations.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, teased this exciting news in an interview with the New York Times earlier this week—although she did not provide specific dates or details as to how the plan will unfold.

“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” she said, referencing the trio of vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States: those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union,. Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by [The European Medical Association].”

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Days removed from von der Leyen’s comments, we now have a clearer picture of this program will work.

According to a new report Reuters.com, E.U. lawmakers, member states and the executive commission are currently fleshing out a coronavirus certificate that would verify that travelers are fully vaccinated or COVID-19 negative, and thereby allow them to travel across the region.

However, negotiations have reportedly been complicated by the differing vaccination and testing protocols of each member state.

“The certificate is not about allowing or forbidding travel. It has nothing to do with that,” Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told Reuters. “It’s a system of information on your health status in relation to COVID. Member states have the prerogatives, the responsibility when it comes to health safety measures (required for entry); the green digital certificate does not change this.”

One way or the other, it looks like those who are inoculated with any of the European Medical Association’s recognized COVID-19 vaccines will be able to travel Europe again soon—so start packing your bags!

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