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Parliamentary questions
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12 April 2021
Answer given by Vice-President Jourová
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000287/2021

Obtaining a proof of vaccination after having been vaccinated is not a new concept: vaccination certificates allow citizens to receive clear information about the vaccine received, the date of the next dose and to obtain a reliable record of vaccination, which will be needed to receive a booster later in the future.

On 25-26 February 2021, the European Council called for work to continue on a common approach to vaccination certificates. The Commission adopted a legislative proposal on 17 March 2021 for a Digital Green Certificate(1), which includes vaccination certificates, test results and statements about recovery from COVID-19.

The goal is to facilitate safe free movement during the pandemic within the EU by making nationally issued certificates interoperable. Neither the certificates nor vaccination themselves will be a precondition to travel.

Many countries are issuing vaccination certificates, some of them also digitally. In this context, Member States, supported by the Commission, adopted a first set of guidelines aiming at the interoperability of vaccination certificates(2).

Further work on the interoperability of vaccination certificates is being conducted by the eHealth Network in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, which is planning a global standard on the so-called Smart Vaccination Certificates.

It is important to bear in mind that the responsibility for vaccination policies, programmes and services lies with Member States. The availability of a Digital Green Certificate does not mean that vaccination would become mandatory.

Legislation on vaccination — including whether vaccination should be mandatory or not — is a national competence. The Commission has no decision-making powers in this respect.

(2) https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/ehealth/docs/vaccination-proof_interoperability-guidelines_en.pdf
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