Norway to use ‘coronavirus certificates’ in reopening plan

Norway to use 'coronavirus certificates' in reopening plan
(Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)
Prime Minister Erna Solberg says that certificates will be issued to people who have either received a Covid-19 vaccine or have immunity as part of the Norway's four step plan to lift coronavirus restrictions.

The PM confirmed that proof of vaccination will be used in Norway in a statement given in parliament on Wednesday.

“We must consider how such a certificate can best be used nationally in connection with reopening the country. A corona certificate opens up opportunities, but at the same time offers challenges and dilemmas. The government’s ambition is to land a solution for such a certificate within reasonable time,” said the prime minister in a statement to parliament. 

The head of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Camilla Stoltenberg, has said that she backs the use of Corona certificates or vaccine passports.

“We have not made any final decision on it, but we are positive (regarding) the use of vaccine certificates,” she told national broadcaster NRK.

She also added that she understands that vaccine passports are controversial for some.

“Some will have been vaccinated, and others will not. It is a question of justice and it is a question of what one can allow in private contexts and what one can allow for in public contexts,” she said.

The EU is already working on a model for vaccine passports and Norway has said that it will follow the EU’s decisions on the matter.

READ ALSO: Could ‘health passports’ kickstart travel around Europe?

Stoltenberg said that she thinks the NIPH and Norwegian Directorate of Health will soon be commissioned to research the use of vaccine passports.

“We believe that vaccine certificates probably have their place, and that it should definitely be looked at how they can be used in a good way. But it is difficult. It is. A question of what kind of injustice it also could have,” the health chief said.

Last week Minister of Health Bent Høie said that the government is working with EU on the development of a vaccine certificate. The certificate would be made of a combination of vaccine status and test status.

“We are looking at the possibility of combining simple digital solutions to see if people have been vaccinated, and possibly tested. It opens up the possibility of travelling in Europe. It can be used nationally, with a hope of keeping it as open as possible,” Høie said.

Th state secretary with the Ministry of Health, Saliba Andreas Korkunc, said that Norway already has a form of vaccination card, which can be accessed on the Helsenorge website. Authorities are now working to further develop the card into a full certificate that follows international recommendations.

“We are now working to clarify in which situations we can use a corona certificate. There are many considerations that must be taken into account in this assessment, both ethical, scientific and legal. Before concluding, there is a need for more knowledge about the effect the vaccines have on the spread of infection and the effect against new virus variants,” said Korkunc.


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