Would you travel again, but with a vaccine passport? Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece, suggested that the European Union create a vaccination certificate for travelers who have been vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Greek head of state described this concept in a letter addressed to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. According to Mitsotakis, the vaccination certificate would allow travelers to cross borders within the continent, without meeting requirements such as having negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests results or quarantining for weeks upon entering a country. “Persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel,” Mitsotakis explained.
As one of many countries dependent on tourism, it is a top priority for Greece to find a safe way to receive tourists again before the 2021 summer season. Nations like Belgium support implementing Mitsotakis’ measure or something similar like a vaccine passport. However, certain media consider this suggestion as a possible threat to the rights of European citizens. The argument states that a certificate or passport may serve as a tool for discrimination or violation of privacy.
Mitsotakis’ proposal constitutes yet another initiative to reactivate the travel and tourism industries despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries such as Spain and Argentina require that each traveler undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 with negative results. Spain registers people who reject the vaccine and share the list with other countries. In the case of Israel, a mobile app was created that allows vaccinated people to fly and attend live events.
An Update on Vaccination Certificates and Vaccine Passports
Since January 13 when we first posted this story, Greece went ahead and began issuing local vaccination certificates to all its inoculated citizens. Also, the European Union approved Mitsotakis’ idea and announced it would develop “Digital Green Certificates for free and safe movement in the EU.”