As of February 1, 2022, the European Certificate of Vaccination against Covid-19 will be valid for a maximum of 9 months after the end of the primary vaccination schedule. This decision has very concrete implications for vaccinated travelers: the new rules on the acceptance period of vaccination certificates apply to travel within the European Union.
The Commission’s proposal that vaccine certificates be valid for nine months follows guidance from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that countries offer booster shots from six months after a person’s first round of vaccines
On December 21st, the European Commission adopted rules for the EU’s Covid-19 digital certificate establishing a binding nine-month (270 days to be exact) acceptance period for vaccination certificates for travel within the EUDidier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice
“Vaccination certificates will be accepted by Member States for a period of nine months from the administration of the last primary dose,” said a European Commission press release. “In the case of a single-dose vaccine, this means 270 days from the first and only dose. In the case of a two-dose vaccine, it means 270 days from the second dose or, in accordance with the vaccination strategy of the vaccinating member state, the first and only dose after recovery of an infected person.”
Under these EU rules, applicable to domestic EU travel, member states must therefore accept any certificate of vaccination issued less than nine months after the administration of the last primary vaccination dose. Member states cannot provide for a shorter or longer period of acceptance, the document stresses.
The acceptance period takes into account the guidelines of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, according to which booster doses are recommended no later than six months after the end of the first vaccination cycle. “The certificate will remain valid for an additional three-month grace period beyond those six months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can adapt and citizens have access to booster doses.”
A divergent approach between countries on boosters would risk undermining trust in the EU’s COVID certificate systemDidier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice
According to Politico, the Commission proposed the discontinuation of its list of non-EU countries that are considered safe from March 2022. From then on, travelers would be allowed entry into the EU solely depending on their vaccination or recovery status, instead of the epidemiological situation in the country they’re traveling from, as it has been done until now.
As of February 1st, a person wishing to travel who was vaccinated more than nine months ago will be able to have a valid certificate if they receive a third dose or have a negative PCR test. In other words, the nine-month time limit is only required for those who have received only two doses of vaccine (or one dose in the case of a single-dose vaccine). Some examples are given in the FAQ published when the Commission proposed these rules on November 25th, 2021.