Iceland to start issuing ‘vaccination passports’ amid controversy in EU – 26/01/2021 – Worldwide

Iceland issued its first vaccination “certificates” intended to facilitate the movement of people vaccinated against Covid-19, so-called “vaccination passports”, according to information from the authorities on Tuesday (26). It has become one of the first countries to do so, as the issue is controversial and openly divides the 27 member states of the European Union.

Around 4,800 Icelandic citizens who have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are currently eligible to obtain these digital certificates after the launch last Thursday (21) of an online service dedicated to “vaccination passports”, a said the Icelandic Ministry of Health. .

“The objective is to facilitate the movement of people between countries, so that individuals can present the vaccination certificate during customs checks and thus be exempted from restrictive measures at the borders, according to the rules of the country in question”, he specified.

For the holders of this document in Iceland, the usefulness of these certificates remains, for the moment, essentially theoretical, as long as their value is not recognized internationally.

But if this type of document is effectively implemented in the bloc, Iceland plans to allow the uncontrolled entry of holders of vaccination certificates from member countries of the EU or the European Economic Area, or even passports. vaccination program implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Iceland is not a member of the EU, but is part of the Schengen free movement area – now in fact limited by many anti-Covid measures. The introduction of such vaccination certificates or “passports” is currently the subject of discussions in the EU, but without any consensus.

Several French leaders believe that this type of document can become an instrument of isolation and negative discrimination, as well as an obstacle to free movement in the bloc, which is one of the premises of the European Union, since the treaty from Rome.

‘Save tourism’

However, European countries like Greece are pushing for the adoption of “vaccination passports” in an attempt to save the tourism sector, one of the country’s main sources of foreign exchange, but the talks are considered premature by several countries, like France and Germany.

The controversy highlights the small proportion of the vaccinated population and the uncertainties which still surround the effect of the vaccine on the transmission of the virus.

In mid-January, the WHO emergency committee declared itself “for the moment” opposed to the introduction of certificates as a condition of entry into a country for international travelers.

“We still do not know whether those who become infected after vaccination are less likely to pass the disease on to others or not,” Icelandic health officials admit on their official website.

Due in particular to the strict border control measures and the sequencing of all positive cases, the epidemic has been under control in Iceland for several weeks.

Last week, fewer than five daily infections were reported in the country of 365,000 people.

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