The first major digital health pass could begin rolling out in the EU within days
Legislation is being prepared that would bind all EU member nations in accepting a digital health pass for COVID status.
Provisional consensus has been reached on details of the mandatory program, according to an article in Euronews. It is up to the European Council and Parliament to craft an enabling law. Regulation behind the free certificate is supposed to be in place by July 1.
The program would enable members to lift travel restrictions among the 27-country alliance. EU leaders have said they are open to exporting the certificate program to European Economic Area nations and Switzerland. Finland last week signed on to the plan.
Neither the United States nor the UK have negotiated an agreement to become part of the effort.
The UK launched a vaccine-status update to its National Health System app May 17. It proves the holder — nationals over the age of 13 — has been vaccinated or tested, according to travel publication Globetrender. The app is accepted in a handful nations.
(There is a separate NHS Bluetooth COVID app used in contract tracing.)
Previously known as the Digital Green Certificate, the EU Digital COVID Certificate would be a QR code (a digitized signature), and displayed by holders either in an app or as paper.
According to Euronews, codes will be issued, stored and secured by health centers, test facilities, health authorities or other organizations. The government’s chief role is expected to be verifying the digital signature. The agreement does not specify a means of binding the health status credential to the individual, so the potential use of biometrics will be an implementation choice by the issuing country.
Government leaders say they expect the certificate be available by June, but everything reportedly is in place for nations to begin introducing the program in a matter of days.
Those who are unvaccinated and who need to travel across borders can do so as long as they comply with relevant quarantine and testing restrictions.