Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland started issuing the first passports on June 1. Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Spain began issuing passports days later.
The remainder of the EU and Schengen Area countries, except for Hungary and Finland which are still in the test phase, are expected to connect to the new technology framework.
How the EU passport works
Under the vaccine passport scheme, each EU Member State will issue its own certificate, but all will adopt the same entry requirements for visitors.
What about travelers from outside the U.S.?
Earlier this month, an EU spokesperson said the app could be extended to citizens from non-EU countries, including U.S. Americans who obtain the certificate would be exempt from travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.
Why U.S. won’t have national vaccine passport anytime soon
A fierce debate has kicked off across the U.S. over whether a digital health certificate or “vaccine passports” should be required to prove vaccine status, The New York Times reported.
So far, the Biden administration has resisted the idea of a “vaccine passport” for the U.S. On May 28, U.S. Director of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas said the U.S. was taking a “very close look” at vaccine passports for international travel. Later that day, the DHS clarified there will be no “federal mandate” for vaccine passports in the U.S.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. does not have a national database for immunization records that could act as the source of vaccination data for use in digital passes. That’s because a national system to create a unique identification number to link the health records of every American has been banned since 1998, spearheaded by then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who said such a system would be an unwarranted privacy intrusion.
States take a stand
The issue has sparked debate in the U.S., and led a number of states to introduce legislation to curtail or ban vaccine passports due to privacy, equity, liberty and accountability concerns.
These states include Florida, Texas, Missouri, Utah, Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Indiana, Iowa, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Georgia, Wyoming and Idaho.
So far, vaccine passports have been implemented in two states — New York and Hawaii.
Read full article on The Defender's website.