As of Friday, official Covid-19 certs issued in Ukraine, Turkey and North Macedonia are accepted by the EU and connected to the bloc’s digital pass system. Travelers from bloc countries who bear the pass are also able to enter the three nations using the Brussels certificate.
The rollout of the digital scheme to include the three non-EU countries comes after the European Commission had announced the extension in a statement on Thursday. EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders praised the equivalence measures as helping to “facilitate safe travel, also beyond the borders of our Union.”
Oliver Varhelyi, the commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement, echoed Reynards’ remarks, stating that “as we fight the pandemic together, our partners are also an integral part of opening up safely together”.
Under the Covid-19 passport scheme, EU citizens can use the digital pass to show proof that they have been inoculated against the coronavirus, recently tested negative or have antibodies after recovering from illness.
The European Medicines Agency has so far approved four vaccines for administration across the bloc: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Janssen. Individual member states can decide for themselves if they will accept jabs outside of the approved list.
Ukraine, Turkey and North Macedonia all administer China’s Sinovac, while the latter two countries have also rolled out Russia’s Sputnik V. No shots made by Beijing, nor the Russian jab, feature among the ranks of Brussels-backed vaccines to date.
The EU’s digital Covid-19 certificate was launched across its member states and countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) on July 1 to permit easier travel within the bloc during the pandemic. Switzerland, neither part of the EU or an EEA member, has its own equivalence deal.