In an open letter to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, as well as the heads of state and government of the European Union, Mitsotakis wrote: “Ensuring the quickest possible re-establishment of freedom of movement between Member States, but also with third countries is, of necessity, a fundamental priority for us all.
“That is why in Greece we have moved quickly to put in place procedures for facilitating the freedom of movement of persons who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. A key step in this regard is to establish a standardised certificate, which will prove that an individual has been successfully vaccinated.”
IATA supports the initiative by Greece
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is supporting the initiative by Mitsotakis for a harmonised vaccination certification, which would enable those who are vaccinated to travel freely within Europe without Covid-19 testing.
IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac stressed the importance of well-coordinated planning in preparing for the re-establishment of freedom of movement, citing a combination of vaccination and testing as key to the restart of safe aviation.
“We are in very dark days of this pandemic. But the tough measures taken, combined with accelerating vaccination programmes, must give us hope that we can safely re-establish freedom of movement,” he said. “That will save jobs, ease mental anguish, re-connect families and revive the economy. To do this safely and efficiently, planning is key.”
Airlines would be forced to follow suit
The rules put in place by countries that would determine whether travellers are allowed to enter if they have not been vaccinated will force airlines to follow suit, global corporate travel management company BCD Travel has said.
Speaking during a webinar on 20 January about the ability for vaccines and digital health passports to reopen travel, Mike Eggleton, BCD Travel’s Director of Research and Intelligence said: “If countries start to mandate, airlines will have no choice but to require passengers to present proof of vaccination.”
As news of heightened vaccine distribution efforts continue to be reported around the world, countries are still finding their way when it comes to regulating health screening. However, fairness, equality and standardisation certainly seem to be key elements to rolling out Covid vaccine initiatives globally.