By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER for the Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — Germany on Thursday started rolling out a digital vaccination pass that can be used across Europe as the continent gets ready for the key summer travel season.
The country’s health minister said starting this week vaccination centers, doctors practices and pharmacies will gradually start giving out digital passes to fully vaccinated people. The CovPass will let users download proof of their coronavirus vaccination status onto a smartphone app, allowing them easy access to restaurants, museums or other venues that require proof of immunization.
The vaccination passport should be available to everyone in Germany who is fully vaccinated by the end of this month, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
“The goal is that this certificate can also be used in Helsinki, Amsterdam or Mallorca,” Spahn told reporters in Berlin.
People who have already been fully vaccinated in recent weeks will either get 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.
“By doing so, we in the European Union are setting a cross-border standard that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world yet,” he said, adding that digital vaccination pass is an important step for the revival of international tourist travel.
The country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, reported Thursday that 47% of the population, or about 39.1 million people, have been vaccinated at least once. Almost 24%, or 19.9 million people, are fully vaccinated.
On Wednesday, almost 1.3 million people received a vaccine jab, the second highest daily number since the country started its vaccination campaign late last year.