Will travellers be BARRED from entering Europe unless they get the right vaccines approved by the EU Digital COVID Certificate???
Find out why this is just a comedy of errors, and what the FACTS really are!
EU Digital COVID Certificate : A Comedy Of Errors!
The EU Digital COVID Certificate went live on 1 July 2021, connecting 21 EU nations into a unified system that manages COVID-19 certificates.
Unfortunately, the healthcare portal – CodeBlue – triggered panic when they made this shocking claim (our emphasis) :
“Malaysians vaccinated with AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine may be barred from entering Europe, as the European Union’s (EU) Digital Covid Certificate — which came into force yesterday — only recognises EU-approved shots for free travel within the bloc.“
They then went on to explain how the EMA has only approved AstraZeneca vaccine factories in the EU, US, the UK and China.
The implication is that since people who received AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in South Korea and Thailand “may be barred from entering Europe“.
In truth – there is NOTHING to suggest that anyone will be barred from entering the EU because their vaccines were not manufactured in an approved facility.
EU Digital COVID Certificate : Just A Certificate For EU Residents
The CodeBlue article makes it sound like the EU Digital COVID Certificate is a prerequisite for travel into Europe. That’s really not the case.
The CodeBlue article also wrongly suggested that people could be barred from entering Europe merely because they were vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine that were manufactured in factories not recognised by the EMA.
Here are the facts…
Fact #1 : EUDCC Is An Immunity Passport
Countries around the world are coming up with immunity passports to authenticate people who have been vaccinated or have immunity against COVID-19.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a digital verification system that certifies that the person has
- been vaccinated against COVID-19, or
- received a negative test result *, or
- recovered from COVID-19
The EUDCC basically confirms that the person does not have COVID-19, or has immunity against COVID-19.
* Validity : 72 hours (PCR tests), 48 hours (rapid antigen tests)
Fact #2 : EUDCC Is For Schengen Area Residents
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is meant to be used by residents in the 27 EU countries, and a few non-EU countries that are in the Schengen Area, or have an open border with the EU :
- San Marino
- Vatican City
Fact #3 : EUDCC Not Applicable To Non-EU Residents
Everyone else not residing in the list of countries above generally do not qualify for the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
After all, they will have their own vaccination or test certificate from their own countries!
However, travellers from other countries who have been fully vaccinated with an EU-authorised vaccine may be issued an EU Digital Covid Certificate “on a case by case basis“.
Fact #4 : EUDCC Not Required For Free Movement Within EU
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is “not a pre-condition” to travel freely within the European Union.
However, it will exempt the traveller from free movement restrictions in EU member states that are designed to curb COVID-19.
Those without the EUDCC will simply have to comply with COVID-19 free movement restrictions in a particular EU member state, which can include testing and/or quarantine.
Fact #5 : EMA Approval For Vaccine Use In EU, Not Travel
The EMA (European Medicines Agency) evaluates and approves COVID-19 vaccines for use within the EU. This approval process does not include just the clinical data but also the manufacturing sites.
Only EMA-approved vaccines produced at EMA-approved manufacturing sites can be administered within the European Union, as EMA told Health Policy Watch :
It is important to note that in the context of a vaccine authorisation the company has to submit a list of manufacturing sites to EMA and it is EMA’s role to evaluate and potentially approve it. The benefits and risks of Covid-19 vaccines need to be properly assessed based on detailed information on manufacturing as well as on nonclinical data and well-designed clinical trials.
However, EMA vaccine approval has NO DIRECT BEARING on travel restrictions by EU member states!
In fact, European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, said :
“As set out in the Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, adopted by Member States on 20 May, entry into the EU should be allowed to people fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU.”
“This does not mean that the vaccines has to be produced in facilities covered by the marketing authorisation in the EU.”
“Member States could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines having completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.”
Fact #6 : EU Member States Decide On Entry Requirements
The EU Digital Covid Certificate is only meant to provide a standardised system to certify an EU resident is “COVID-19-free”.
It is ultimately up to each EU member state to decide on recognising certificates from other countries, vaccines manufactured in other countries, and even vaccines that are not approved in the EU.
On this matter, European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, said :
“Member states are free to accept the documentation issued in third countries for vaccination. These should contain information that at least allows [the country] to identify the person, the type of vaccine and the date of the administration of the vaccine.”
“Member states could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines having completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.“
Fact #7 : Vaccine Factory Approval Not Necessary For Entry Into EU
This must be emphasised again – the approval of any vaccine factory is NOT necessary for entry into the EU.
This was already clarified by European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, on 30 June 2021.
But because of erroneous reporting by various media organisations including CodeBlue, the European Union clarified again on 7 July 2021 :
“Entry into the EU is in principle allowed to fully vaccinated persons with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU, including those produced in facilities not covered by marketing authorisation in the EU.”
“Member States could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines that have not been yet authorised in the EU but have completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.”
As you can see – their 7 July 2021 statement is the same as it was on 30 June 2021. Nothing has actually changed.
We should note that the EU also said, “There is no obstacle or hurdle. Therefore, some recent reporting concerning the AstraZeneca vaccines’ origin is inaccurate.”
Fact #8 : Vaccine Passports Are Political Decisions
I would like to end by pointing out that vaccine passports are ultimately, political decisions.
It is up to the European Commission and individual EU member states, and of course, all other countries around the world to decide WHICH vaccine / immunity passports they will accept.
In the end, EVERY COUNTRY wants to open its borders to tourism and business. It is in their interest to accept ANY genuine proof of vaccination for entry into their country.
Right now, it’s a matter of negotiating reciprocal recognition, and how to authenticate the different digital certificates.
So stop panicking over vaccine or immunity passports. Get yourself vaccinated first!
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