EU Launches Vaccination Passport Plan
On March 17th EU leaders announced the development of “digital green certificates” which will serve as proof of vaccination for the region’s 440 million residents. The program is expected to be ready by June, just in time for the summer travel season. However, it appears that the program will initially only be open to EU citizens. There is an expectation that it would be opened up to visitors from other countries, but there are not immediate plans to do so.
The extent to which the vaccine passports will allow freedom of movement is still unclear. The Washington Post quotes German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying that preferential treatment of vaccinated travelers “isn’t on the agenda, given the low vaccination coverage at this point.” This is frustrating southern EU member countries, as their economies are much more reliant on tourism. There may be country-specific travel corridors established if no E.U.-wide solution can be found.
Since the vaccination rate in Spain is currently 4%, compared to 12.4% in the USA, it is difficult to predict when tourism can return to Spain. This puts the San Fermin Festival and the Running of the Bulls 2021 at risk, due to the COVID travel restrictions.
Source: Washington Post