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Vaccine certs 'weeks away' as Irish people may get 'choice' of paper or digital cert

There is currently no internationally recognised Covid-19 vaccine certification process.

Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE EU IS “a number of weeks” away from a common document that would act as proof of vaccination, with Irish health officials saying it is hoped that such a certificate could be physical or digital. 

With increasing focus on Ireland’s mandatory hotel quarantine system, it is expected that HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre may soon advise that those who are fully vaccinated may be exempted from hotel quarantine. 

If this were to happen, there would be a focus on the process whereby someone could prove they are fully vaccinated. 

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan is among those to note that there is currently no internationally recognised vaccine certification process, although some in government have suggested that Ireland need not wait for a common approach

The European Commission has previously announced plans to introduce a travel certificate or ‘Green Pass’ to help restore freedom of movement but this has not yet been finalised. 

Asked about the issue last night, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there is “ongoing work at EU level” around the development of a vaccine certificate and that Ireland was “actively involved in that process”. 

Hopefully we will get to a point where we can have a common document or a common process through which we can be assured that when someone says that they’re fully vaccinated, that they are fully vaccinated.

He added: “I think the EU has indicated that we’re a number of weeks away from that at this point. So let’s see how things develop over the coming weeks, but hopefully it will offer opportunities.”

At present, people in Ireland who have received a Covid-19 vaccine receive a physical certificate confirming their receipt of a vaccine along with the date of when they got it and details of the vaccine type an batch number. 

When Ireland’s Covid-19 vaccine implementation plan was released back in December it was noted that vaccine certificates could be delivered “physically, digitally or both”.  

In a statement to The Journal, the Department of Health said it is the intention to “give people the choice” of a physical or digital cert when the EU system is finalised. 

“Work is ongoing to develop a vaccine certificate suitable for use on all EU member states, based upon standards being developed by the EU. These standards will ensure the authenticity of certificates can be verified by other member states as restrictions are lifted and it becomes possible for EU citizens to travel again,” the statement said.

Ireland is actively participating in the development of these standards and in the process of developing certificates, in paper and electronic form, that meet these requirements. It is our intention to give people the choice of a digital or paper vaccination certificate and that these will meet domestic and international requirements.

‘Corona pass’ 

Last week, Denmark began requiring people to use a new Covid-19 certificate to enter certain businesses or face fines, becoming one of the first European countries to do so.

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The programme is separate to the EU ‘Green Pass’ plan and will not be used for travel right away. Instead it grants access to hairdressers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours and driving schools.

The UK is also looking at similar plans but concerns have been raised by civil rights groups. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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