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COVID-19

‘Green pass’: European Commission to propose EU-wide vaccine passports for summer

Europeans may be allowed to travel more freely this summer with a new digital vaccination passport in a plan set to be laid out by the European Commission.

'Green pass': European Commission to propose EU-wide vaccine passports for summer
An Israeli woman shows her "green pass" (proof of being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus) before entering the Green Pass concert for vaccinated seniors. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP

Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced the plan for a “digital green pass” in a speech to German lawmakers on Monday and then added some details on Twitter.

The “digital green pass”  would provide proof that a person has received the vaccination as well as test results for anyone who has not yet been vaccinated. It would also include information on recovery for anyone who has previously contracted Covid-19.

“The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism,” von der Leyen tweeted.

 

The Commission will present the legislative proposal this month. Von der Leyen said, it will “respect data protection, security and privacy.”

The news could provide a significant boost to Europe’s tourism industries ahead of the summer. 

Leaders of the EU27 met last week to discuss a joined-up approach but no united plan was announced.

Spain and other southern countries have repeatedly requested that the Commission introduce a certificate. Greece had already announced it would create its own vaccine passport system, agreeing a digital “Green Pass” with Israel and entering talks with the UK.

An independently reviewed, real-world study of the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine in Israel found it had cut transmission in symptomatic cases by 94%, according to data published in the well-regarded New England Journal of Medicine.

However, last week, Angela Merkel told German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung: “First, it must actually be clearly resolved that vaccinated people are no longer infectious.”

“As long as the number of those who have been vaccinated is still so much smaller than the number who are waiting for vaccination, the state should not treat the two groups differently.”

President Macron also raised concerns about the fairness of vaccine passports on young people at the EU27 virtual meeting. 

In the UK, Downing Street confirmed that UK officials will speak to their EU counterparts after Brussels unveiled plans for the passport, Politics Home reported.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “You can expect [the Department for Transport] will work [with], and do speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports.”

 

Member comments

  1. Does anyone know when Americans will be able to visit, we have a 2nd home, if they have sometype of vaccine passport? Thanks!

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HEALTH

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

As France launches its autumn vaccine campaign, almost half of those eligible for the second booster jab in France have already received it. This has left some wondering whether they could qualify for a third booster, using the new dual-strain vaccines.

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

Question: I’m in my 70s and I had my second booster back in the summer but now I see that the new dual-strain vaccines are available – should I be getting an extra booster with the new type of vaccine?

French health authorities launched the autumn booster campaign on October 3rd includes newly authorised dual-strain vaccines – such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.1, the Moderna vaccine adapted to BA.1, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.4/5 – which are designed to combat the Omicron variant.

It will be followed by the seasonal flu vaccination campaign in mid October.

READ MORE: When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

In France, about 6.3 million people have received a second booster dose, “or 41 percent of the eligible population,” said the Directorate General of Health (DGS) to Ouest France.

Currently only those in high risk groups are eligible for a second booster shot, including pregnant women, the elderly those with medical conditions or carers – find the full list here.

As almost half of the eligible population have already received a fourth vaccine, many are wondering whether they will be eligible for a fifth (or third booster) in order to access the new dual-strain vaccine.  

According to Virginie, a representative from HAS – France’s health authority – the organisation “no longer thinks in terms of doses for high-risk people and immunocompromised patients.”

Specifically, the HAS recommends that a new injection be given – and if possible one of the dual-strain vaccines – “regardless of the number of injections received up to now”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?

However, French health authorities specified that the additional booster should “respect the minimum recommended time between two doses.”

“This depends based on your profile – for people aged 80 and over, residents of nursing homes or long-term care units (USLD) and those who are immunocompromised, the wait-time is three months between jabs. For the others, the delay is set at six months.”

For those who have already been infected by Covid-19, the HAS recommends that if you are eligible for a second (or third booster) that the additional dose “is still recommended, with a minimum delay of three months after infection.”

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