Europe disease prevention agency backs COVID-19 vaccine certificates

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By Euronews
In this Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 file photo, a view of the closed hut "Rifugio Scoiattoli" in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy.
In this Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 file photo, a view of the closed hut "Rifugio Scoiattoli" in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy.   -  Copyright  Antonio Calanni/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Europe’s disease prevention agency would support the issuing of special certificates for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 - but would not back a so-called ‘vaccine passport’ allowing the inoculated to travel without following testing and quarantine rules.

In a statement on Monday, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said it supported a certificate that “would document whether someone has been given the vaccine, the number of doses, and the type of vaccine administered, for medical purposes.

“This is not the same as a vaccine passport that would permit international travellers to be exempt from complying with travel risk reduction measures, and for which [...] there’s insufficient evidence about the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission to exempt travellers.”

Andrea Ammon, the director of the ECDC, also said that the despite a push towards vaccination in a number of European countries, the rates of admissions to intensive care units at hospitals across the continent remained high.

COVID-19 variants

“Unless non-pharmaceutical interventions are continued or even strengthened, a significant increase in COVID-19-related cases and deaths should be anticipated in the coming months,” she said. This is particularly acute due to the spread of COVID-19 variants.

The ECDC also warned against an increase in so-called COVID-19-fatigue, that was prompting some to be less careful about measures such as the wearing of face masks or social distancing.

“Pandemic fatigue – defined by WHO as ‘de-motivation to follow recommended protective measures’ – appears to be growing in some settings, and this urgently needs to be addressed if further waves of infection are to be avoided, and if population discontent is to be minimised,” it said.