Health Minister Chris Fearne and Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola have both thrown their weight behind a proposal for EU-wide “COVID-19 vaccine passports” to facilitate travel across member states.
Fearne yesterday discussed this proposal at a virtual meeting with EU Health Ministers, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and representatives from the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Greece has strongly pushed for a common EU-wide vaccine passport to facilitate the freedom of movement of people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Lovin Malta understands that Fearne is in favour of standardised EU vaccine certificates, on the grounds that they could facilitate travel and tourism across the continents pending widespread herd immunity.
F’laqgħa mal-Kummissarju għas-Saħħa Ewropea, mal-ECDC, mal-EMA u mal-Ministri għas-Saħħa Ewropej, tkellimt dwar Vaccine Certificate li jiffaċilita l-ivjaġġar u t-turiżmu fl-Unjoni Ewropea. pic.twitter.com/aklukfxEXn
— Chris Fearne (@chrisfearne) January 13, 2021
PN MEP Roberta Metsola has also backed this proposal, saying standardised vaccine certificates should be the next step in the EU’s battle against the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 vaccine showed the triumph of European science and the necessity of States cooperating. We have shown the world what we can achieve when we work together,” she told Lovin Malta.
“I think the immediate challenge now is to urgently improve its rollout to make sure those who need it the most receive it and receive it quickly. Our health, our economy and the speed of our recovery depends on it. We need a European Health Union more than ever before.”
“The next step now must be to issue EU-wide vaccine certificates. Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis is right to be pushing this forward and I hope Malta supports the initiative.”
“We’ve seen with the rollout of Passenger Locator Forms and different apps how difficult it can be to get States to agree to common forms, so it is imperative that we do this now in time for when a critical mass of Europeans have been vaccinated.”
However, this proposal has also brought about serious privacy concerns, with Exeter University researcher Anna Beduschi warning it could “create a new distinction between individuals based on their health status, which can then be used to determine the degree of freedoms and rights they may enjoy”.