The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate – What Is It? And How Does It Work?

vaccine in globe, how does the digital covid certificate work?

In a press release last week, the EU announced the launched of the Digital Covid Certificate which will allow member states to issue QR codes through an app to citizens hoping to travel between countries. Currently, seven countries have gone live with the app including, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland. Another 16 countries have finished the initial testing phase and an additional seven countries are currently still in the process of doing so. Once the testing phase is complete, the EU member states can roll-out the digital certificate at any time. 

But what exactly is the digital covid certificate?

Put simply, it is a digital record of either vaccination, negative test results or recovery from the disease. The app and record itself will not contain sensitive information. Instead there will be a digital signature key which will be a unique code that allows other participating countries to verify your Covid vaccination or results. Only the government or authority will have access to the sensitive data. 

How does the digital covid signature work?

It literally could be as easy as downloading a free app on your phone or logging into an e-health portal. Each country will be in charge of coming up with their own way of registering their citizens for the digital covid certificate, but all will be accepted by EU member states. 

This brings about an interesting and possibly controversial issue for US citizens who are also hoping for a similar digital covid certificate. Each state would seemingly be responsible for maintaining a database of their resident’s records. However, because of the way the US government is set up, each state has rolled out the vaccinations differently and they all have different ways of tracking and storing this information. Not to mention the increasingly alarming crime of fake vaccination cards being sold online in the US. 

In an interview with CNN however, an EU spokesperson commented that American citizens could be granted the digital covid certificate if they requested it from a participating member state. There has been no information on how to make this request or what steps would need to be taken, so for now American citizens will need to either quarantine or show proof of a negative test result in many European countries.


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