Vaccine certificates are already here for some European travelers, but not all.

The European Union has scheduled its rollout for a vaccination certificate program for July 1, 2021. The program would allow travelers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to freely cross boarders within the 27 nations of the Union, with secure digital proof of their status.

Seven countries are jumping the gun a little. Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and Poland all introduced their own vaccine certification programs ahead of schedule on June 1, 2021. Their programs will provide documents of travel to those who are vaccinated, those who have contracted the virus and now test as having developed antibodies, and those who have had a negative PCR test within the past three days. The documents are free, available in paper or digital forms, and valid among the countries which have decided to accept them ahead of July.

“EU citizens are looking forward to traveling again, and they want to do so safely. Having an EU certificate is a crucial step on the way,” said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

Wen the EU finalizes its own system, these countries will stop issuing their own vaccine certificates and begin using the ones issued by the EU Commission.

“That will simplify things considerably, because you can imagine the number of bilateral agreements that would otherwise need to be worked out,” said Greece’s minister of digital governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis in a television interview. He hopes that all EU nations will finalize their own systems to issue, store, and verify certificates by July “so the system is functioning in time for the holiday season.”

It has not yet been decided if people who are vaccinated will be required to test negative before any travel, although the health community does not recommend such a requirement at this point.

Photo: Shutterstock