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Digital Green Certificate will facilitate mobility and guarantee public health protection

Thursday 15 April 2021

The Digital Green Vaccination Certificate will facilitate mobility at a European Union (EU) level, guarantee the protection of public health and gradually allow the return of safe economic activity.

The Secretary-General for Digital Health, Information and Innovation of the National Health System, Alfredo González, stressed this at a press briefing, explaining that the Government of Spain and the regional governments have started to work on introducing the Digital Green Certificate in our country to comply with the deadlines established.

The Government of Spain's intention, he announced, is to introduce the Digital Green Certificate in June, such that it can be up-and-running by the end of that month, and fully functioning for the summer season.

In this regard, it should be stated that Spain has several information systems that favour its introduction - REGVACU, SERLAB and Spain Travel Health (SpTH).

Alfredo González stressed the important step taken on Tuesday through the establishment of a common position agreed by EU governments on the draft regulation.

"A new phase of negotiations now begins at the European Parliament, with the horizon of approving the regulation in June", he explained.

Characteristics of Digital Green Vaccination Certificate

Based on full respect for current rules of data protection and timely reporting to the Spanish Data Protection Agency, the main characteristics of the Digital Green Certificate are its simplicity and interoperability throughout the EU, and that it is free of charge and universal.

An individual digital certificate will be created through a QR code, which will provide information on whether the holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has a negative diagnostic test and proof of having recovered from the disease.

The Digital Green Certificate will facilitate free movement in the EU, "but will not limit the mobility" of those who do not hold a certificate, and "will respect, at any event, data protection, safety and privacy", remarked the Secretary-General for Digital Health, Alfredo González.

"This is not a passport or a travel document, nor is it a pre-requisite for travelling", but is "a mechanism that facilitates mobility", stressed the Secretary-General for Digital Health, Information and Innovation of the National Health System, while emphasising that the possibility exists of extending the model to compatible Certificates issued by third countries.

Introduction in Spain

This is a process of "great complexity that requires full coordination, as we are witnessing at present", between the Ministry of Health and the regional governments, including the involvement of the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Tourism, of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, and of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, along with other agents such as airlines.

The regional governments will be tasked with issuing, stamping and handing over the Certificates in electronic format (QR Wallet, PDF with QR) or on paper. The ministerial department will issue Certificates in special cases, and offer the necessary technical coordination and support necessary to the regional authorities. Laboratories will also participate, tasked with facilitating the information so that the Certificates can be issued.

Meetings are scheduled to be held with all the regional governments, along with bilateral sessions with each of them to have the systems ready in the scheduled deadlines. Furthermore, the Inter-territorial Council of the National Health System will be informed on a timely basis of the progress of the project, both at an EU level and regarding its rollout in Spain.

The European Commission presented the model of the Digital Green Vaccination Certificate on 17 March and, since then, the Member States have been working hard on the legal and technical aspects of the model.

The regulation is currently in its passage through the EU institutions, and is expected to be approved in the month of June so that the Certificate can be operational by the end of that month.

Certificates for people travelling to Spain

As regards the validation and acceptance of the Certificates for people travelling to Spain, the main responsibility will be taken on by the Ministry of Health, through Border Health, which will thus help develop the SPTH (Spain Travel Health) system.

At the end of the process, the traveller may opt for the traditional system (SpTH introduced in June 2020) or for the new system (SPTH+), providing the Digital Green Vaccination Certificate in this application. In the latter case, verification will be made upon arrival and transit will be much quicker and simpler for the traveller, while maintaining the utmost health and safety.

Non official translation