The head of the bloc’s executive body reported in an interview with The New York Times that American tourists who have received their full vaccination dose against COVID-19 can now visit the European Union. This much-awaited change of decision has been recorded after more than a year of shut-down of non-important travel from the majority of the countries of the world to retain the spread of this deadly virus.
Vaccination has been really fast in the United States and this led to advanced discussions between authorities of the US and European Union about how to make vaccine certificates ready. Vaccine certificates will now onwards be regarded as vaccine passports which are proof of proper immunity of the visitors. This will allow the European Commission, the executive part of the European Union to allow a tweak in the policy of trans-Atlantic travel.
The EU has already declared its plans of crafting a digital certificate that would cover a person who has either tested negative or has recovered from a recent bout of COVID or has received the complete vaccination dose.
What is being said according to the proposals?
As per the proposals given by the European Commission, member states can now accept tourists from countries that are not included in the EU only if they show a proof of an approved jab. This proposal could be extended to all those vaccines which completed the listing process of the WHO emergency use.
Children, traveling from American to Europe, who have not received their vaccine can also travel with their parents till the time they show a negative test. Nevertheless, you again have to test yourself on arrival in Europe. There are also ETIAS requirements for Americans who are planning to enter the European Union for both leisure and work purposes. You have to apply for an ETIAS visa online and complete the process before boarding the flight.
All the above listed measures won’t have any bad impact on the present rules of essential travel or citizens of European Union and other long-term residents along with their families. This recommendation comprises of all European Union member states excluding Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Which vaccines will be allowed by the EU?
As of now, European Union has given approval to 4 vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. Each of these vaccines demand two jabs for full protection apart from the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
These are the same jabs that have been authorized by the WHO for emergency use and there are records of similar approvals for China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.
Henceforth, all the 3 vaccines that are being used and administered in the UK, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca would be covered under the new European Union plans.
What is the process of Vaccine certificate management?
Since the first week of May, 2021, European lawmakers had already approved plans for accepting a digital pass all over EU to start off travel during the summer holiday season. This certificate is actually a QR code which is a graphic code readable by machine that is made of black and white squares. This code will comprise of personal data and according to the EU, this is totally secure and safe. They are currently working in collaboration with the WHO to make sure that the certificate is accepted even out of Europe.
Nevertheless, there are still few practical concerns about the EU certificate which include queries like how long will the immunity of a person last post an infection and whether or not further vaccines will be required amidst the rapid spread of COVID variants.
Several other countries like Denmark, Israel and Greece are also unraveling their own passes as they reopen their country for vaccinated tourists. Things are gradually coming back to normalcy.