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Fact Check-Council of Europe resolution does not prevent the implementation of vaccine passports  

A social media post shared more than 43,000 times has claimed a resolution from the Council of Europe “effectively stops” the implementation of vaccine passports in EU member states. This is false. Although the council passed a resolution advising about the use of vaccine certificates, it is not legally binding.  

“On 27 January, the Council of Europe signed Resolution 2361, which states that vaccinations in EU Member States should not be mandatory”, the post reads (here).“Furthermore, persons who have not been vaccinated may not be discriminated against in any way. This effectively stops the notion of "vaccine passports".”  

The Council of Europe is an international organisation, based in Strasbourg, which comprises 47 European countries (here). Its website says it was set up to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe.  

It is true that such a resolution (here) was passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The resolution advises that to encourage vaccine uptake, member states should not make vaccination mandatory, and that “vaccination certificates” should only be used for their “designated purpose” of monitoring vaccine efficacy.  

But resolutions made by the Assembly are not legally binding on member states or on the EU, though they do hold political influence and moral authority. Vaccine passports are also not the same as vaccine certificates, the latter simply being a document that shows which vaccine a person has received (here).  

“Though it has no power to pass binding laws, PACE holds a constant dialogue with governments, national parliaments, other international organisations and civil society which ‘sets the agenda’,” the Assembly says (pace.coe.int/en/pages/powers). “In this way, its texts filter down through law and practice to improve the lives of Europeans everywhere.” 

VERDICT  

False. The council passed a resolution about mandatory vaccination and vaccine certificates, but its advice is not legally binding.  

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.  

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