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EU to consider COVID-19 certificates featuring vaccination, testing data

Next week, the European Union will propose that new COVID-19 certificates combine information on vaccination, recovery from the sickness and test results to avoid discrimination between citizens as the region tries to chart a path forward out of the pandemic.

'It's not only about vaccination,' EU official says, when discussing certificate possibilities

A patient is seen receiving a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Vantaa, Finland, on Thursday. The European Union is set to propose new COVID-19 certificates containing data about vaccination and test results that would make it easier for people to travel. (Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images)

Call them what you will, but the European Union may be calling them certificates as the region tries to chart its path forward out of the pandemic.

Next week, the EU's executive will propose that new COVID-19 certificates combine information on vaccination, recovery from the sickness and test results to avoid discrimination between citizens, a senior official said.

Southern EU countries reliant on tourism hope that such documents could help unlock their summer season this year, but they ran into opposition from Germany, France and Belgium stressing that inoculation is neither obligatory nor available to all.

'Not a passport'

"We are working on a certificate — it's not a passport — but it's not only about vaccination. [It's] about recovery for the people who had sickness, vaccination or test," European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Thursday.

"We don't have mandatory vaccine so it's possible to refuse to be vaccinated. And we don't have for the moment the capacity to organize vaccination for all the people who want to be vaccinated. We don't want to have any discrimination."

WATCH | Canada's health minister on vaccines, vaccine certificates:

Canada looking into how to share unused vaccine doses with lagging countries

2 years ago
Duration 10:54
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live that Canada is looking into the process for redirecting its extra doses of COVID-19 vaccines to countries that need them.

The certificate concept is under consideration in Canada with Health Minister Patty Hadju recently telling CBC News that it remains a "very live" issue for Ottawa and its counterparts around the world. 

Vaccination push continues

The EU's slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been widely criticized, with only about five per cent of people inoculated so far. The bloc's target of inoculating 70 per cent of its adult population by the end of the summer is seen to be increasingly in question.

A woman wearing a protective mask walks through Lisbon's Comercio Square on Thursday. Some EU countries reliant on tourism hope COVID-19 certificates could help people travel, but they ran other leaders stressed that currently, inoculation is neither obligatory nor available to everyone. (Carlos Costa/AFP/Getty Images)

But, keen to revive economic growth mauled by the pandemic, the bloc's 27 national leaders agreed last month to prepare joint rules for such COVID-19 "green certificates" before the summer.

However, they still have not agreed on how exactly to use them and what travel rights would be attached.

With files from CBC News

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