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EU ministers discuss Covid travel pass updates, vaccine hesitancy

German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth said on Tuesday that the EU Covid-19 travel pass must be updated to show the up-to-date validity of the holder's vaccination status.

Brussels, 24 November 2021 (dpa/MIA) — German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth said on Tuesday that the EU Covid-19 travel pass must be updated to show the up-to-date validity of the holder’s vaccination status.

Speaking at an EU ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Roth said it was of the “utmost importance” that EU leaders take action to “help as many people as possible to move freely in the European Union.”

On Monday, in a speech to the European Parliament, European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the European Commission is working on an adaptation of EU travel rules and the EU coronavirus travel pass to “avoid fragmentation.”

The EU Digital Covid Certificate permits the holder to travel in the EU if they are vaccinated, recovered from covid or have recently tested negative for the virus.

The travel pass was central to the coordinated return of freedom of movement in the EU after pandemic lockdowns.

EU member states are readying vaccine booster campaigns to curb rising infection levels. Some are also introducing new standards for full vaccination status amid a fourth coronavirus wave.

In Greece, people aged 60 or older must have a booster shot for their vaccination status to remain valid. In France, the same applies for people older than 65.

EU member states have pushed the EU authority to link the validation status of vaccination in the travel pass to include booster vaccine doses.

EU ministers also discussed vaccine hesitancy, concerned unvaccinated parts of the population are driving covid cases and increasing hospitalizations.

Slovenian State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gasper Dovzan said in a press conference false information about the vaccines needs to countered to address vaccine hesitancy.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday that Europe is “primarily dealing with a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Booster shots were essential, she added.

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