The European Union has overwhelmingly voted to approve a new digital travel certificate for EU citizens, centralizing items like test results, vaccination status and records of previous infections.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate has already been adopted by nine countries, with more expected to join the program before it officially launches on July 1. It will log the holder’s vaccination status, negative tests and, if applicable, a record of previous COVID-19 infection. Importantly, it's free.
The aim is to reopen the EU for summer tourism and lessen pressure on travelers to get tested multiple times as they cross borders.
Could the U.S. see something like this any time soon?
"It’s certainly controversial in some areas," said Paul Baier, president of the PathCheck Foundation, which has been involved in the development of vaccine passes. If it’s not a national initiative, it’s very likely American organizations "will voluntarily choose to require a pass to get an additional set of services or entry into a particular event," Baier added.
Proof of vaccination is already happening in various parts of New York, California and other U.S. states. It's also picking up steam in academic settings, with over 200 colleges and universities that have mandated students get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus.
While paper vaccination cards have proven to be ripe for forgery, many around the world are switching over to digital proof of vaccination to avoid that fraud, Baier said.