The European digital certificate will be valid for nine months, the Commission announced.
In particular, the Commission adopted rules for the EU COVID digital certificate, setting a mandatory validity period of 9 months (exactly 270 days) for travel within the EU.
The new rule will become mandatory for the 27 member states of the European Union from February 1. It could be blocked by an increased majority of EU governments or a simple majority in the European Parliament, but officials said it enjoys sufficient support. This rule replaces the non-binding recommendation of the European Commission announced in November.
Once the rule takes effect, EU states will have to allow fully vaccinated travelers with a valid health certificate to visit their territory. However, as an exception, justified by a possible deterioration of the situation, they can still impose additional requirements, such as negative tests or quarantine, if they are proportionate.
EU states, including Italy, Portugal and Greece, are now requiring fully vaccinated travelers from other EU countries to also test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival. The new rules only apply to international travel.
The new requirements for travel within the EU harmonize the various rules in the member states. This period takes into account the recommendations of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, according to which revaccination doses are recommended no later than six months after the end of the first vaccination cycle. The certificate will remain in effect for a grace period of three more months, over and above those six, to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can be adjusted and citizens have access to booster doses.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, says that “the agreed expiration date for the EU’s COVID digital certificate is a necessity to ensure free movement and coordination at EU level. The strength and success of these instruments lies in their consistent use throughout the EU. ”
The new rules for the period of receiving vaccination certificates apply to the purpose of travel. When introducing different rules for the use of certificates at the national level, Member States are encouraged to align them with these new rules in order to provide guarantees to travelers.
In addition, yesterday the Commission also adapted the rules for coding vaccination certificates. This is necessary so that the documents certifying the completion of the initial batch can always be distinguished from the certificates issued after the revaccination.
Increasing doses will be recorded as follows:
3/3 for booster dose after a series of initial 2 doses of vaccination. 2/1 for a booster dose after a single vaccination or a two-dose vaccine given to a recovered person.
Didier Raeder, Commissioner of Justice, said: “The EU’s COVID digital certificate is a success story. We need to keep it that way and adapt to changing conditions and new knowledge. Unilateral action in member states will take us back to the fragmentation and uncertainty we saw last spring. The nine-month period for receiving vaccination certificates will give citizens and businesses the confidence they need when planning their travels. Member States must now ensure that amplifiers move quickly to protect our health and ensure safe travel. “
For his part, Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton noted that “the EU digital certification for COVID has become a global standard. Reflecting the latest scientific knowledge of booster doses, the certificate remains an important tool in the fight against the various waves of the pandemic. ”
Governments may have different Covid-19 passes to access events or premises on their territory. An EU official said that after the booster vaccine, the validity of the Covid-19 certificate will be extended without any restrictions, as there is currently insufficient information on the duration of protection provided by the booster dose.
The EU primary Covid-19 vaccine currently consists of two doses of Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.