GENEVA – The World Health Organization and the European Union announced their collaboration on global digital vaccine passports at a joint press conference in Geneva on June 5.
“In June 2023, WHO will take up the European Union (EU) system of digital COVID-19 certification to establish a global system that will help facilitate global mobility and protect citizens across the world from on-going and future health threats, including pandemics,” the WHO press release states.
“This is the first building block of the WHO Global Digital Health Certification Network (GDHCN) that will develop a wide range of digital products to deliver better health for all.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the value of digital health solutions in facilitating access to health services,” WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said during the press conference. “While the emergency phase of the Covid-19 pandemic is now over, investment in digital infrastructure remains an important resource for health systems and for economies and societies at large.”
The WHO has stated that they will use the “EU Digital COVID Certificate” as a model to establish a global digital health certificate.
“One of the key elements in the European Union’s work against the COVID-19 pandemic has been digital COVID-19 certificates. To facilitate free movement within its borders, the EU swiftly established interoperable COVID-19 certificates (entitled ‘EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate’ or ‘EU DCC’),” the WHO press release reads.
“With this collaboration, WHO will facilitate this process globally under its own structure with the aim to allow the world to benefit from convergence of digital certificates.”
During the height of the Covid crisis, the EU Digital COVID Certificate made it so that EU citizens could only travel to other member states if they provide proof of vaccination, recovery, or a recent negative Covid test. In some EU countries like Austria, citizens were essentially segregated from society if they refused to take to Covid injections.
“This partnership is an important step for the digital action plan of the EU Global Health Strategy,” EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides said.