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EU COVID vaccine passports valid for 9 months

EU COVID vaccine passports valid for 9 months

A new rule has been announced, one that will come into force on 1 February 2022; EU vaccine passports will only be valid for nine months without a booster shot.

Just yesterday, the European Commission announced that COVID certificates in the bloc would be valid for much less than a year, as many may have assumed. The move comes as European countries attempt to secure even more doses, due to a surge in cases, likely as a result of the highly transmissable Omicron variant.

The EU Commission said that a harmonised validity period for COVID vaccine passports “is a necessity for safe free movement and EU level coordination.”

What are the new rules?

The new rules refer only to travelling within the European Union. However, the Commission recommends that EU countries also apply them on national levels, to provide “certainty for travellers and reduce disruptions.”

If you’re an EU resident, the Commission recommends that you receive a booster shot six months, at the latest, after being fully vaccinated. That being said, the certificate will be valid for three additional months as a grace period to ensure access to booster doses, hence why the certificate is valid for nine months, as opposed to six. 

Following a booster shot, the validity of the vaccine passport will be extended. At the time of writing, there is no limit on the validity, as there is a lack of scientific evidence regarding the duration of protection from booster shots.

The EU Commission also introduced a new rule referencing the recording of the booster shot in vaccine passports. Booster shots following a two-dose vaccination should be recorded as 3/3 on the certificate. A single-dose vaccination followed by a booster, on the other hand, should ready 2/1.

The rule can be blocked by a qualified majority of EU governments, or a simple majority of European Parliament members. However, officials believe it has enough backing.

Thus far, 807,000,000 COVID vaccine certificates have been issued within the European Union.

European measures

Some EU countries are already announcing similar measures. In France as of 15 January, for instance, adults whose vaccine is more than six months old are no longer allowed access to the national COVID pass without a booster shot.

Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Italy, Greece and Austria have also brought in emergency measures, requiring vaccinated EU travellers to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests or quarantine on arrival.

What do you think of the measure?