Greece, Germany and five other European Union (EU) countries introduced a system of vaccination certificates for travelers on Tuesday, a few weeks before the July 1 program in a block of 27 countries.
According to the European Commission, the other countries that started earlier were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia and Poland.
Greece, which is heavily dependent on tourism, insists on obtaining a universally recognized certificate that uses a QR code with advanced security features. Certificates are issued to people who have been fully vaccinated, as well as to those who have already contracted the virus and have developed antibodies, and to others who have passed the PCR test in the last 72 hours.
Documents will be in both digital and paper forms. They will be free, distributed in national and English languages, and operate in all countries of the bloc.
“EU citizens are looking forward to the opportunity to travel again, and they want to do it safely. Having an EU certificate is an important step towards this, ”said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.
Greek Digital Administration Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said travel to the EU would open to facilitate travel as countries adopt a new verification standard.
“What will happen is that countries will stop issuing certificates using their own agreements and will take a general convention. This will greatly simplify the situation, because you can imagine the number of bilateral agreements that would otherwise need to be developed, “Pierrakakis told private TV channel Skai.
Kyriakides said that in the next few weeks, all EU countries need to “fully refine their national systems for issuing, storing and verifying certificates so that the system can be operational before the holidays.”
Countries will be allowed to add additional vaccines to their individual list of participants, including those that have not been officially approved for use throughout the EU.
The EU Commission considers that vaccinated people should no longer be tested or quarantined, regardless of where they go, starting 14 days after receiving the second vaccination.
However, Member States have not yet endorsed this recommendation.