BRUSSELS, Nov 25 (KUNA) - The European Union, Thursday, proposed a standard acceptance period of 9-month for vaccination certificates issued following the completion of the primary vaccination series in order to harmonize safe and free movement within n the27-member bloc .
An European Commission press release said EU Member States should not refuse a vaccination certificate that has been issued less than 9 months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination. It called on EU Member States to immediately take all necessary steps to ensure access to vaccination for those population groups whose previously issued vaccination certificates approach the 9-month limit.
As of yet, there are no studies expressly addressing the effectiveness of boosters on transmission of COVID-19 and therefore it is not possible to determine an acceptance period for boosters, it noted.
Presenting the proposals at a press conference in Brussels today, Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice, said, "based on our common tool, the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which has become a real standard, we are moving to a 'person-based' approach. Our main objective is avoid diverging measures throughout the EU.
"Agreeing on this proposal will be crucial for the months ahead and the protection of the safe free movement for citizens," he stressed.
He said person who has a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate should in principle not be subject to additional restrictions, such as tests or quarantine, regardless of their place of departure in the EU. Persons without an EU Digital COVID Certificate could be required to undergo a test carried out prior to or after arrival.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate has been rolled out successfully, with more than 650 million certificates issued to date. Today's EU proposals comes amid drastic rise in coronavirus infections in Europe.
The World Health Organization yesterday said it expects COVID-19 deaths in Europe to surpass 2 million by March 2022.
Reported deaths across the region have hovered around 4,200 a day, twice as high as deaths reported in September. Dr. Hans Kluge director of WHO Europe warned, "We face a challenging winter ahead." (end) nk.gta