July 1, the EU certificate will become the first building block of the UN World Health Organization’s Global Digital Health Certification Network which will include a range of digital health services. And while the WHO declared in May that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a global health emergency, the international certificate program will protect against future pandemics.
Work on the certification network started last November when the European Commission struck a cooperation deal with the WHO on global health issues. The network was officially launched this month with Stella Kyriakides, the European commissioner for health and food safety announcing that the voluntary certificate program has already been taken up by almost 80 countries.
“A central pillar of the EU’s Covid response, the EU digital Covid certificate is being scaled up to global level,” says Kyriakides. It “quickly became a global standard. We worked hard with our international partners to ensure that their national certificates could be recognized under the EU Covid certificate framework.”
Personally identifiable information will continue to be managed by EU member states, which will issue digital health certificates and records according to WHO guidelines. The organization will also certify the credentialing authorities of member states and establish their connection to the digital infrastructure hosted and funded by WHO.
EU officials have boasted about the success of their digital health certificates in the fight against the pandemic. A new report from the independent research group the Ada Lovelace Institute, however, claims that contact tracing apps and digital vaccine certificates were rolled out without clear expectations.
**By Masha Borak