COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – The Danish government said on Wednesday it was partnering with companies to develop a digital passport that would show whether people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, allowing them to travel and help ease restrictions on public life.
Finance Minister Morten Boedskov told a press conference that “in three or four months a digital corona passport will be ready to be used, for example, for business trips”.
“It is absolutely crucial for us to be able to restart Danish society so that companies can get back on track. Many Danish companies are global companies with the whole world as a market, ”he added.
As a first step, before the end of February, Danish citizens could see official confirmation of their vaccination on a Danish health website.
“This will be the extra passport that you can have on your cell phone that will document that you have been vaccinated,” Boedskov said. “We can be among the first in the world to have it and show it to the rest of the world.”
The coronavirus has seen an almost total halt in international travel as countries try to contain the spread of the virus. Large European airlines, for example, carry one tenth of their normal traffic.
The presentation of the Danish government was made with representatives of the main trade organizations, the Confederation of Danish Industries, which represents the main Danish companies, and the Danish Chamber of Commerce.
Denmark, like neighboring Nordic and Baltic countries, has moved in recent years to a fully digital system to reduce bureaucracy with online platforms that support electronic authentication and digital signatures to enable paperless communications in the private and public sectors.
The European Commission, meanwhile, has weighed proposals to issue vaccination certificates to help travelers get to their holiday destinations faster and avoid another disastrous summer for Europe’s tourism sector. But the EU executive arm said that for now, these certificates would only be used for medical purposes, for example to monitor possible side effects of vaccines.
Some similar digital passports are under development to help travelers safely show that they have complied with COVID-19 testing requirements. One, called CommonPass, says it could track vaccinations as well.
Estonia said on Tuesday it would allow passengers arriving in the country with proof of COVID-19 vaccination to avoid quarantine requirements.
The Baltic country said the certificate must meet certain criteria, including information about when the vaccine was made, what vaccine was used, the vaccine issuer and the vaccine lot number. The certificate must be written in Estonian, Russian or English.
The Danish government has said it will decide later whether the digital passport should be used for purposes other than travel to help reopen public life.