State to issue Covid certificates to people vaccinated outside Czechia from Monday

The Czech Republic should enable the handing out of EU COVID certificates to Czechs, EU citizens – and foreigners with permanent residency in Czechia who have been vaccinated in selected foreign countries – from July 12, the health minister has announced. The date has already been delayed in the past, due to issues with the ministry’s IT system.

Illustrative photo: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

“I got the two shots of the Pfizer vaccine. I think it was in April and May of this year. Then I came back to the Czech Republic after I was vaccinated. Once I learned about this vaccine certificate programme, I tried to get one for myself.  That is when I realised I cannot get it. So I guess I am kind of stuck.”

Earl is a US citizen with permanent residency in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech Health Ministry’s website, he is one of the individuals that are eligible to ask for a coronavirus vaccine certificate after a legal amendment, approved by the Czech government on June 21, allowed for the approval of European Medicines Agency-recognised vaccines issued outside the EU.

Czech Foreign Ministry | Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková,  Radio Prague International

Specifically, this bill makes it possible to get a valid certificate for Czechs or their family members, EU citizens, foreigners with a valid permanent residency permit, or members of diplomatic missions and international organisations that are registered at the Czech Foreign Ministry.

Furthermore, the applicants must have received a vaccine from one of over a dozen approved countries, including Australia and the US. Other states have not yet been added to the list.

The issuing of these certificates was originally supposed to begin in the last week of June. However, the start date has since been delayed multiple times, most recently on Wednesday, when Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told the Parliamentary Health Committee that the system will start accepting applications on Monday.

Adam Vojtěch | Photo: Michal Kamaryt,  ČTK

The reason behind the repeated delays, according to Mr Vojtěch, is an IT issue. The Czech Institute of Health Information and Statistics, the responsible agency, has to make changes to its computer system in order to facilitate the issuing of such certificates. However, the Institute is also focusing on several other issues which need to be fixed first, the health minister said.

The promise to make the issuing of a certificate possible came after reports last month that Czechs vaccinated in countries outside the EU could not get their vaccine passes recognised. Some reportedly even considered getting re-vaccinated in Czechia.

Earl says he is considering doing the same.

Illustrative photo: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

“I have had to take [coronavirus] tests, because my vaccine status does not do anything for me. I have a card from the US with my vaccination date, but I guess that is not valid. I think what I will probably end up having to do is get a vaccine shot here [in the Czech Republic], so that I have a record of my vaccination, and then I can get the certificate here.”

However, Daniel Dražan from the Czech Vaccinology Society told Czech Radio that he does not recommend getting revaccinated, because there is no need to do so and there are no studies that look into the effects of taking four vaccine doses.