Problems with certificates in Portugal are already solved, says European Commission

The European Commission said this Friday that it had been notified that the problems in Portugal in issuing Covid-19 certificates from the European Union (EU) with the information on the booster dose of the vaccine have already been resolved, with no constraints.

“However, we received information that the problems with the issuance of certificates containing information on the administration of the booster dose were successfully resolved in Portugal and that there are no longer any problems in the country”, informs an official source of the community executive in a written response sent to Lusa agency.

The clarification comes a day after the European Commission admitted this type of problem, explaining that the institution’s technicians were in contact with the Portuguese authorities regarding the certificate that attests to the administration of the booster dose after a primary series of anti-covid-19 vaccination ( of two doses), as stipulated by European rules since the end of last December.

It is true that there seem to be problems in Portugal when it comes to issuing certificates following the administration of a booster dose. Our experts are in contact with the Portuguese authorities”, said the official source on Thursday.

In response to CNN Portugal, the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health had already guaranteed not to have “a record of technical constraints associated with the issuance of EU Covid Digital Certificates with information regarding the booster dose of the vaccine”.

At stake is the EU digital certificate, proving the (negative) testing, vaccination or recovery of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which came into force in the Union at the beginning of July last year.

At the end of December 2021, the European Commission announced that the EU Covid-19 Digital Certificate would now include information on booster doses of vaccines, as well as being valid for nine months for travel within the community. This last measure only comes into force at the beginning of February.

“The booster shots should appear as follows: 3/3 for a booster shot after a two-dose primary series of vaccinations; 2/1 for a booster dose after a single dose of vaccination or a dose of a two-dose vaccine given to a recovered person.”

Also according to the source, it will be up to the Member States “to apply the coding rules and rectify the certificates if they have been coded differently”, and everything should be operational by February 1st.

This certificate was created to facilitate free movement during the pandemic, but at that time reliable data on the period during which people would be protected after vaccination with the two doses were not yet available, so deadlines were not set for the period of acceptance, with the exception of recovery certificates, it being up to the Member States to define until when to accept those relating to inoculation in the context of travel.

The new rules specifically stipulate an acceptance period of nine months (from the last inoculation), given that vaccine protection appears to diminish over time.

Data from Brussels reveal that, so far, 1.17 billion certificates have been issued in the EU, in a total of 60 countries and territories on the five continents that have already joined the system.

This “free transit”, which is free, was initially created to facilitate free movement within the community, but countries such as Portugal and others have extended its use for verification in social spaces such as events and establishments.

On Wednesday, the SPMS indicated that more than 13.7 million digital certificates had already been issued, the vast majority attesting to vaccination against covid-19.

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