As overseas Americans, some of us have received COVID-19 vaccines while visiting friends and family stateside. Recently, the EU launched a Digital COVID Certificate program, both for cross-border travel between EU member states and -- as in the case of France and increasingly elsewhere -- for entry into public spaces like theaters, restaurants, and shops. Certificates come in differing types, depending on whether a person (1) has received an approved vaccine, (2) has proof of recovery from contracting COVID-19, or (3) has a recent negative PCR test result.
In Spain, public access to these certificates is managed by each autonomous community and many have no protocol in place for verifying the administration of vaccines obtained outside of Spain. In parts of the country, only those vaccinated in Spain have succeeded in soliciting digital certificates, while US-vaccinated folks are left in the lurch. Similarly, Spanish citizens who study or work outside the EU, where they were vaccinated, are facing this difficulty upon returning home.
Our DA Spain Executive Committee is researching ways to address this issue for our members. We understand that affected DA members may be frustrated and looking for answers, assistance and solutions. DA Spain has just learned that the autonomous communities of Catalunya and Madrid have official protocols in place for individuals vaccinated outside the EU on how to obtain the certificate. The Basque Country seems to be working on a similar fix, and the likelihood is great that other autonomous communities are following close behind. Wading through this issue has been overwhelming and confusing for officials, as doctors, health clinic administrators, healthcare system representatives, special COVID-specific public offices, and citizen service offices are all navigating new waters with ever-changing criteria and information.
We urge DA members who were vaccinated outside the EU to stay up-to-date on the policies of the autonomous community where they live, contact their health care professionals, and above all, be patient! DA Spain will do its part to keep our membership informed, as information rolls in.