As the whole world is waiting for the supply of vaccines, the rules regarding the “vaccine passports” remain to be a question among Europe. The bodies of the European Union urge for a unified ruleset regarding the usage, acceptance and data requirements of the certificate, while some of the Member States (such as Hungary) started to prepare for the large-scale issuance of its domestic version.
The vaccine passport, according to the press releases from the EU Committee, will be a “Digital Green Pass” that will be issued only to EU residents, who have been vaccinated, infected, or were presumably infected, but it is verified later with an antigen test. The issuance of this document is intended to facilitate travel in the following months among the European Union as a mandatory accessory of free travel. Given the fact that there are no uniform rules made by the EU and since in many countries the vaccination has already begun, Member States started issuing their own version of an “immunity certificate” as a proof of the vaccination. However, the urge to prove the fact of previous infection or vaccination is unquestionable, the different methods used by Member States could give rise to further questions, especially in the field of equal treatment.
Data protection professionals argue that preparation of such (national) document shall be subject to particular attention, as in domestic cases the rules of non-discrimination should apply to this subject as well. Lawmakers shall consider that any unreasonable difference made between nationals is strictly forbidden by the equal treatment rules. According to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, finalization of the vaccine passport is still at least 3 months apart, until then the national rules shall be applied carefully and the relationship of the domestic and EU certificates remains to be clarified. This means that we will have to stick to using the domestic “immunity certificate” at least for a few more months.