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Germany kicked off the summer season by launching its roll out of digital vaccination passes, a strategy officials hope will make it easier for those who have been inoculated not only go about their day-to-day lives, but to travel and enjoy activities previously prohibited under coronavirus lockdown laws.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Thursday announced vaccination centers, doctors practices and pharmacies will gradually start giving out The CovPass beginning this week. The digital pass will enable users to download proof of their coronavirus vaccination status onto a smartphone app, which will grant them full access to restaurants, museums or other venues that require proof of immunization.
It will also serve as a sort of vaccination passport that can be used for travel across the European Union.
“The goal is that this certificate can also be used in Helsinki, Amsterdam or Mallorca,” Spahn told reporters in Berlin. “By doing so, we in the European Union are setting a cross-border standard that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world yet.
Upon becoming fully vaccinated, residents should expect to receive a letter with a QR-code they can scan with their phones or they can contact their doctors or pharmacies to retroactively get the digital pass.
Almost 20 million people in Germany have been fully vaccinated, all of who should already have vaccine stickers and stamps along in their yellow vaccination booklets. The CovPass is just an extra level of convenience, Spahn noted.
In the United States, where the race to inoculate the general public continues, there has been controversy over whether to establish a type of COVID passport. New York recently became the first to introduce its own version with the Excelsior Pass smartphone app while states like Texas and Florida have tried make passports —both digital and otherwise — illegal.
The White House earlier this year distanced itself from any sort of federal vaccine certification or pass,instead putting the responsibility on states and private businesses.
“There will be no centralized universal federal vaccinations database, and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a March press briefing. “We believe it will be driven by the private sector.”