EU’s Nine-Month vaccine validity to come into force Today

All travellers to EU member states will be required to have had a second vaccination within nine months (270 days) from Today.

Visitors may also provide proof of recovery within the past six months (180 days) or a booster vaccination in order to travel within the European Union from February 1.

Changes, confirmed last week by the European Commission, mean EU states will take into account the Covid status of the person instead of the situation in their country of origin. The person-based approach comes with the exception of travel from areas where the virus is circulating at ‘very high levels’.

Person-based approach

Travellers in possession of a valid EU digital COVID certificate should not be subject to additional restrictions to free movement.

A valid EU digital COVID certificate includes:

  • A vaccination certificate for a vaccine approved at European level if at least 14 days and no more than 270 days have passed since the last dose of the primary vaccination series or if the person has received a booster dose. Member states could also accept vaccination certificates for vaccines approved by national authorities or the WHO.
  • A negative PCR test result obtained no more than 72 hours before travel or a negative rapid antigen test obtained no more than 24 hours before travel.
  • A certificate of recovery indicating that no more than 180 days have passed since the date of the first positive test result.

Persons who are not in possession of an EU digital COVID certificate could be required to undergo a test prior to or no later than 24 hours after arrival. Travellers with an essential function or need, cross-border commuters and children under 12 should be exempt from this requirement.

The Irish Travel Agents Association reminded members of the changes coming into force but said it expects the new rules “will have no major impact on international travel”.

Chief executive Pat Dawson said: “It has been well-flagged by the European Union that the original EU Digital Covid certificates have a nine-month validity.”

President Paul Hackett added: “This is an EU-wide decision and the EU Commission has been very good with handling the digital Covid-19 certifications and ensuring consistency across all member states.

“This means that when traveling anywhere in the EU, the rules are pretty much the same.”

He said the ITAA advises customers “receive up to date guidelines from your travel agent” before travelling.

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