PARIS : International travel could soon get more complicated and require constant booster shots atlas till the pandemic is over. Several countries in Europe will accept the vaccination certificate of a person for travel purposes if the final dose has been taken within a certain time period.
“Vaccines are considered only valid for 270 days. So if travellers got their last vaccine shot in April 2021, they cannot enter many EU countries,” said the southeast Asia head of a major European airline. Which means just like you check whether your passport is valid, you may have to start running the same checks with your jab certificate also.
For Indians it could mean additional hurdles for travel to the EU as booster shots are allowed to very few like those above 60. Travel agents in India say time has come for WHO approved vaccines to be made readily available here for travellers to meet this new Covid-period compliance put in place by some EU countries.
Other countries are also likely to follow suit.
Airline officials are puzzled by such decisions and they want to be based on WHO advice only. “Ending Covid should not mean throttling every other industry except pharma,” said an airline senior official.
According to Schengenvisainfo news, the EU Commission has recommended that all European countries agree on a uniform acceptance period for vaccination certificates after concluding that two-dose vaccinations do not provide sufficient protection against the virus. It has advised certificates remain valid for a period of 270 days. While some EU member states will implement this effective immediately, others opted for the different validity period.
The website says this period ranges from France’s 90 days to Finland and Bulgaria’s 365 days. Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland validity is 270 days. Austria is 180 days.
“Two-dose vaccinations are valid for 270 days to enter Austria. However, to prove your ‘2-G’ status during your stay in Austria, from February 1, 2022, the validity of your 2nd vaccination will be reduced to 180 days,” Austria’s official travel portal says. Children are exempt from the requirement to receive an additional vaccine dose.
“Switzerland now accepts only vaccination certificates issued within the last 270 days. Such a decision was taken by the Swiss Federal Council and means that citizens of the country, as well as travellers, need to receive an additional vaccine does for their pass to be accepted,” the Schengenvisainfo website says.