Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech, and Poland among first states to use EU Covid-19 certificates

Four of the seven countries who this week implemented the European Union’s Digital Covid-19 Certificate are from emerging Europe: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, and Poland.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, and Poland are amongst the first seven countries to start using the European Union’s Digital Covid-19 Certificate.

The certificate is a uniform, EU-wide privacy-conscious system that includes information about a holder’s Covid-19 vaccination status, results from Covid-19 tests, and if the traveller has already recovered from the virus.

The certificate, which can be used digitally but also in paper form, was proposed by the European Commission in March and is now live in the seven countries, one month ahead of the EU’s deadline. More are set to follow in the coming weeks.

Certificates will include a QR code which will “allow citizens and authorities to be sure that the certificates are authentic”, according to the European Commission. These will be free and available in English and the participating country’s national language.

All EU countries are expected to join the scheme by July 1, and 22 countries have already successfully tested the system.

Restarting tourism
As the explicit aim of the certificate is to facilitate travel in the EU throughout the summer, it is no surprise that member states whose economies are heavily reliant on revenues from tourism have been amongst the first to join.

Acknowledging the presence of vaccine reluctance and the spread of vaccine passport conspiracy theories in the emerging Europe region and throughout the EU, Polish Health Ministry official Anna Goławska says that the EU is not aiming to establish a central register with patient data at a European level. “The newly released certificates will not be a requirement, but will simply facilitate travel for citizens of the bloc,” she says.

The certificate is valid in all EU member states as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

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