The EU4Digital eHealth team has organised a virtual event on COVID-19 response measures with the Eastern partner countries, the second virtual meeting in a series of planned eHealth collaboration events for this year.
The aim of the event on 6 May was to bring eHealth Network members together from the six Eastern partner countries, introducing them to novel COVID-19 management solutions, the role of eHealth in such solutions, and sharing information about their response to COVID-19 across the Network.
In the first part of the event, two speakers from the European Commission, Michiel Sweerts, Policy Officer, eHealth, Well-Being and Ageing at DG CNECT, and Konstantin Hyppönen, Policy Officer, European Reference Networks and Digital Health at DG SANTE, introduced their work on the Digital Green Certificate.
The Digital Green Certificate aims to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic, with member states in charge of issuing the certificate. It could, for example, be issued by hospitals, test centres or health authorities. A digital version of the certificate will be available on a mobile device, but citizens can also request a paper version if needed. Both will have a QR code that contains essential information, as well as a digital seal to make sure the certificate is authentic. The European Commission explained that the Digital Green Certificate is a facilitator of free movement for those who have either:
- been vaccinated against COVID-19,
- received a negative test result, or
- recovered from COVID-19.
Next steps include the European Commission setting up a digital infrastructure that would facilitate the authentication of the Digital Green Certificate, and by summer 2021 it is anticipated to have the certificates fully operational in all EU Member States.
In the second part of the event, the EU4Digital eHealth stream gave a presentation on how the EU is reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU’s experience in supporting the vaccination process and the role of eHealth. To manage the response to COVID-19, the European Commission last June presented the EU Vaccines Strategy to accelerate the development, manufacture and deployment of vaccines against COVID-19. Four vaccines against COVID-19 have been authorised for use in the EU. In order to meet the vaccination targets set by the European Commission of at least 70% of the adult population to be vaccinated by summer 2021, an effective and efficient deployment of vaccination campaigns is essential. Several examples of European countries overcoming vaccine rollout challenges were presented to the eHealth Network. For example, some countries in the EU introduced IT platforms for the overall management of mass vaccination process, while others developed vaccination application/registration systems.
In the final part of the event, representatives from the six Eastern partner countries were invited to share their COVID-19 management practices and vaccination support.
Ukrainian representatives introduced their work on several successful eHealth solutions, including eBaby electronic birth certificate based on Electronic Health Records (EHR), electronic health records for immunisation (EHR immunisation), COVID-19 reporting to public health centre based on EHR (PHC COVID reporting) and electronic integrated disease surveillance system (EIDSS).
Representatives from Georgia also shared their success in working on a complex Immunisation system which provides continuous monitoring of immunisation processes across the country. During the pandemic, the system was upgraded to support COVID-19 management, including vaccination and testing for COVID-19 support.
Representatives from the Republic of Moldova shared their achievements in various areas from electronic tools supporting COVID-19 management to vaccination certificates and information systems for vaccine stock management and others.
Find out more
- Technical specifications on Digital Green Certificates were adopted on 21 April 2021 and are available at https://ec.europa.eu/health/ehealth/covid-19_en
- Already in January-March, the eHealth Network adopted the following earlier guidelines to support the interoperability of Digital Green Certificates:
- In addition, the Health Security Committee has adopted guidelines for test certificates:
The eHealth Network, the European Commission, and individual European experts are actively participating to the work of the WHO expert group on Smart Vaccination Certificates.