European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen shows the Digital COVID Certificate on a phone.

The EU’s COVID ‘passport’ doesn’t anticipate eight vaccine doses

AAP FactCheck September 21, 2021

The Statement

Multiple social media posts suggest the European Union’s COVID digital passport includes provision for eight vaccine doses.

The claim is included in a September 9 video post to the Facebook page of Jason Miles, who is identified as a Senate candidate for minor political party the Great Australian Party.

In the video, Mr Miles says: “If you look at the EU, the European COVID passport, it’s now got provision for eight shots on it.” (video mark 9min 30sec)

Before the claim, he suggests that people may need to receive regular COVID-19 vaccines for the rest of their lives. The video had been shared more than 1300 times at the time of writing.

The same claim regarding the COVID “passport” is made in posts sharing a screenshot of the purported EU digital certificate as evidence. One Facebook post, for example, features the screenshot alongside text that reads: “Variant after variant will require dosage after dosage, allowing them to pump whatever they desire into our bodies.”

The post shares a screenshot of an app that it calls the “EU COVID green passport”. The app shows spaces to record eight vaccine doses.

The Facebook video
 Europe’s COVID passport carries a provision for eight vaccine shots, a video claims. 

The Analysis

The claims appear to be based on screenshots that do not show the European Union’s COVID pass – rather, they show an app for Catalonian government health services that predates the coronavirus pandemic. The true EU Digital COVID Certificate is designed to show only a single vaccine dose per certificate.

The screenshot with space for eight vaccine doses is taken from the La Meva Salut health app, which is explained in this 2015 YouTube video as a “space for personal consultation where you can have your health information and carry out procedures safely and confidentially”.

In the video, a computer screen bearing the La Meva Salut logo and a grid featuring the names of various diseases, such as tetanus, rubella and hepatitis, can be seen (video mark 1min 16sec). The grid includes space for up to eight vaccine doses for each disease.

The app’s official web page says that it “allows the citizens of Catalonia to interact in a non-contact way with the health system of Catalonia”. It is not intended for use across the EU.

A fact check on similar claims by French outlet Libération explains that the app predates the COVID pandemic and was “designed to incorporate information of vaccines other than those against COVID-19”. It also noted that the text in the screenshot is in Catalan.

The Catalan Ministry of Health told Libération the misunderstanding had come from the vaccines section of the app, where there is a generic framework used to show the doses a person had received from all their vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines had been incorporated into that structure.

A European Commission spokesman told AAP FactCheck the claims in the video and similar posts were “completely wrong”, describing them as “disinformation”.

“The concept of the EU Digital COVID Certificate foresees that you get one certificate for each dose – plus if applicable one certificate for each test(s) or your recovery. Each time you would get a new certificate with a new QR code,” Johannes Bahrke, co-ordinating spokesman for digital economy, research and innovation, explained in an email.

The certificate provides digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from the disease, according to the European Commission.

The certificate came into use on July 1 with the aim of facilitating “safe and free movement in the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic”, according to a press release from the commission. A Q & A page on the certificate says being vaccinated will not be a pre-condition to travel through the EU.

A Facebook post from the European Commission’s official page shows that the certificate bears no resemblance to the screenshot circulated on social media that shows space for eight vaccine doses. Similar images can be seen from various news outlets and photo agencies, for example from Getty here.

While the posts falsely claim that the certificate includes provision for up to eight COVID-19 vaccine doses, several countries are already preparing to roll out third-dose booster shots and Israel is reportedly considering a future fourth dose to combat waning effectiveness and new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

AAP FactCheck has previously debunked various false or misleading claims shared by the Great Australian Party and its candidates, see here, here, here, here and here.

The Verdict

The EU’s Digital COVID Certificate does not include provisions for eight COVID-19 vaccine doses. Claims to that effect appear to be based on images of a Catalan health app, which has included scope for multiple vaccinations for various diseases since at least 2015.

The EU’s certificate only provides digital proof of a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status, a negative test result or their previous recovery from the virus.

False – Content that has no basis in fact.

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