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Parliamentary questions
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21 September 2021
Question for written answer  E-004313/2021
to the Council
Rule 138
Antonius Manders (PPE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Paper COVID certificate: preventing a ‘digital lockdown’ for the elderly and disabled people

The digital COVID certificate was introduced in the EU on 1 July 2021. In an increasing number of EU Member States, citizens must show their vaccination status to be able to stay in hotels, use restaurants, bars and cafés, and go to the theatre or others places offering cultural and artistic events. It is good that citizens in the Netherlands can also apply for a paper version of the COVID certificate by telephone. This is particulary good news for the digitally impaired, such as the elderly and disabled people, who may not have a (suitable) smartphone to be able to take advantage of a digital certificate. Unfortunately, the process for applying for a paper certificate by telephone is far from ideal. Waiting times are long and callers are often simply told to apply online. This is precisely what they wanted to avoid. As a result, many elderly and disabled people end up in a ‘digital lockdown’.

1. Does the Council agree that a significant group of elderly and disabled people run the risk of being excluded from society because they have insufficient digital skills and/or lack the necessary equipment to be able to apply for a paper COVID certificate?

2. Is the Council prepared to take coordinated measures to ensure that citizens can apply for a paper COVID certificate in any part of the Union in a straightforward manner, for example at local government offices, care institutions or through a well-functioning telephone procedure, and can then have a paper COVID certificate sent to their home address if they so wish?

Original language of question: NL
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