Brexit U-turn as UK poised to ‘join EU Covid vaccine passport scheme’

Sajid Javid says vaccine passports ‘will not be going ahead’

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Sources in Westminster and in EU headquarters claim that the EU Digital Covid Certificate “should make travelling in Europe easier and cheaper for British tourists”. This would “also enable the Government to quickly launch a domestic vaccine passport system” if required to tackle surging Covid cases in the next few months.

The Telegraph sources claim that “integration of the UK’s vaccine database into the EU system is at an advanced stage”.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said: “Significant progress was made on a technical front, namely when it comes to the connection to the gateway, with [the] aim of going live [testing] soon.”

The UK Foreign Office and the Department of Health and Social Care applied to join the EU’s Covid vaccine passport scheme at the end of July.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Linking up to the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate scheme will enable us to digitally verify each other’s Covid certificates to make journeys easier.”

It is the largest vaccine passport scene in the world, and includes all EU member states as well as other countries across the globe.

Countries that are not EU member states, but have signed up to the scheme include Turkey, Ukraine, Switzerland and Israel.

The European Commission says that the scheme “helps ensuring that restrictions currently in place can be lifted in a coordinated manner”.

They continue: “To ensure that there is no discrimination against individuals who are not vaccinated, the EU Digital Covid Certificate also covers test certificates and certificates for persons who have recovered from COVID-19.

“This way everyone can benefit from the EU Digital Covid Certificate.”

The vaccination certificate will have access to a traveller’s vaccination dates, the number of doses received, as well as the vaccine manufacturer and its type.

In the case of unvaccinated travellers, it will show a negative test certificate with details of when and where it was conducted.

It can also be used to show natural immunity via a doctor-issued ‘Covid-recovery certificate’ for those who are no longer infectious.

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In this case, the positive test result with a validity period will be displayed on the digital certificate.

According to the EU, the “EU Digital Covid Certificate uses a decentralised system, which does not require a central EU database or the exchange of personal data among authorities”.

They added: “The data accessed for verifications must not be kept by the verifier following the check.”

The Telegraph quotes travel consultancy boss, Paul Charles, as arguing that the EU Digital Covid Certificate has been a success in countries such as France.

He reasoned: “More people have got vaccinated as a result and the French have seen their infection rates drop significantly because of this measure.

“I think the UK public will get more and more used to it and you are likely to see it being integrated into daily life.”

He added: “This is not for the short term. Governments are getting used to it.

“They see it as increasing vaccine uptake, and they will be reluctant to remove it for people who are fully jabbed.”

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