EU Establishes Nine-Month Period for Acceptance of Vaccination Certificates
On the 21st of December 2021, the European Commission established 9 months for the acceptance of vaccination certificates for the purpose of traveling within the European Union. Having a standardized acceptance period for vaccination certificates will help promote coordinated travel measures, as the European Council asked for during its most recent meeting on the 16th of December 2021.
The validity period of 9 months takes into account the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Booster doses are recommended at the latest 6 months after the first vaccination cycle is completed. The Certificate shall remain valid for a grace period of an additional 3 months beyond those 6 months to enable the adjustment of national vaccination programs whenever necessary, and citizens to have access to booster doses.
The new rules will be enforced on the 1st of February 2022 and will apply for travel purposes. To date, more than 800 million certificates have been issued within the European Union and the Digital COVID certificate has facilitated safe travel for citizens throughout the European Union. Member states are encouraged to align themselves with the new rules to prevent disruptions and ensure certainty for travelers.
Furthermore, the European Commission has also adopted the rules for the encoding of vaccination certificates. This will make it easier to distinguish vaccination certificates that show the completion of the [primary series from vaccination certificates issued after a booster dose is given.
Boosters will be recorded as either of the following:
- 3/3 for a booster dose given after a primary 2-dose vaccination series
- 2/1 for a booster dose given after a single-dose vaccination or a single dose of a double-dose vaccine administered to a person who has recovered from COVID
The EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate started being used on the 1st of July 2021. It allows citizens and residents of the European Union to have their digital COVID-19 certificates issued and confirmed across the EU and serves as digital proof that the person either has:
- Received a negative test result
- Been vaccinated against COVID-19
- Recovered from COVID-19
The EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate is available to all citizens of the European Union and their family members, as well as non-EU nationals who are legally residing or staying in any of the Member States and have the right to travel to other Member States. The national authorities of Member States are tasked with issuing the certificate.