EU Accepts Moroccan COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates For Travel
A decision by the European Commission has ended speculation over the fate of Moroccans who faced travel restrictions due to the type of COVID vaccine they have been administered. The commission published its “implementing decision (EU) 2021/1481” that makes Morocco’s vaccine passport an equivalent to its European counterparts.
The decision establishes “the equivalence, for the purpose of facilitating the right of free movement within the Union, of COVID-19 certificates issued by the Kingdom of Morocco to the certificates issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2021/953 of the European Parliament and of the Council.”
This means vaccination passports and test certificates issued by Morocco are now considered part of the EU’s legal framework that establishes the legitimacy of foreign documents that intend to provide information about travellers’ COVID-19 status.
In return, Morocco will recognize the EU’s certified documents in regard to testing and vaccine status.
Many Moroccans feared new restrictions on travel to Europe due to the local use of the Sinopharm vaccine in Morocco. The EU recently announced it would not recognize the Chinese vaccine, which provided new barriers for Moroccans looking to travel north.
The European Commission has now found a way to allow Moroccans in, without having to recognize the vaccine by the West’s new geopolitical rival.
Amid a global shortage of vaccines, the Sinopharm jab became, and continues to be, Morocco’s primary tool against the pandemic. Bilateral agreements with China provided millions of vaccines, which allowed Moroccan health authorities to vaccinate large swaths of the population while many countries on the continent could vaccinate only a few percent of the population.
Some Moroccans feared that receiving the Chinese vaccine could impact their ability to travel to Western countries who are taking an increasingly hostile stance towards China. The European Commission’s decision appears to allow sinopharm-vaccinated people in, without having to openly declare the vaccine as safe.