Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen confirmed her support for the plan today.
The European Commission is to propose an EU-wide digital vaccination passport that will allow people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel by the summer.
The digital certificate of vaccination would allow people to avoid quarantining when entering a new country by presenting proof of their inoculation.
“We will submit a legislative proposal in March,” Ms. von der Leyen told German lawmakers today.
Whilst Greece has already introduced a vaccine passport for those who received two doses, countries such as Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal have all expressed their support for the introduction of such measures.
Germany and France however have warned that people waiting for a vaccination could be discriminated against if the vaccine passports are introduced too quickly.
The EU however expects 70 percent of its adult population will be vaccinated by the end of the summer, a goal von der Leyen is “confident with”, she claims.
French Minister for Health Olivier Véran has insisted talk of vaccine passports is premature however, as only three million French citizens have been vaccinated and the question of transmissibility following inoculation remains largely unanswered.
Táiniste Leo Varadkar has already confirmed the government’s plan to use vaccine passports in Ireland, telling reporters that “an immunisation document (is) ready”.
“I know that we have an immunisation document ready that people will get with a QR code on it to show that they have been immunised,” Varadkar said..
“And I know in other countries, like Israel for example, they’re using that to say that if you have it you don’t have to self-isolate and the same applies to travel, opening now between Cyprus and Greece, but we’re just not at that point yet in Europe, we’re just not.
“The science doesn’t yet say that being vaccinated is enough to say that you don’t get the virus and pass it on, but I do hope that we will get there.”
The World Health Organization for its part has advised countries not to introduce a vaccine passport yet.
In a position paper released last month, the WHO said “national authorities should choose public health interventions that least infringe on individual freedom of movement.”
“In the context of unequal vaccine distribution, individuals who do not have access to an authorized COVID-19 vaccine would be unfairly impeded in their freedom of movement if proof of vaccination status became a condition for entry to or exit from a country.”
The paper also warns that vaccines could be diverted from vulnerable people if travellers create undue demand for vaccinations and digital passport proof.