The European Union continues to make vaccination against COVID-19 or recovery thereof a decisive factor when it comes down to foreign travel either within the bloc or abroad, according to announcements made Thursday in Brussels.
The European Commission is contemplating a proposal whereby member countries should continue to honor vaccination passes with a 9-month validity while immunized travelers should be granted priority over those who have not taken any dose yet.
But the bloc also insisted on drugs already approved by its sanitary agency EMA in addition to showing some openness towards vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Thursday's updates introduce the new time limit for the validity of COVID-19 inoculations, which implies additional boosters will be required after the 9 months.
EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders Thursday announced a travel scheme based more on individuals’ vaccination or recovery status than on caseloads in the countries they’re coming from.
As per Thursday's recommendations, EU countries should hold vaccination certificates valid for a standard period of nine months after full inoculation.
We recommend to the Member States a standard validity period for the green pass of nine months from full vaccination. Beyond nine months, the certificate should no longer be accepted, unless a booster is administered, said Reynders.
To avoid contradictory interpretations, ”the Commission proposes a standard acceptance period of nine months for vaccination certificates issued after the primary series of vaccination. The nine-month period takes into account the directive of the European Center for Prevention and the Disease Control (ECDC) on the administration of booster doses from six months and provides an additional period of three months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can be adapted and citizens can access the boosters, Reynders added.
Following the new scheme, EU nations should immediately take all necessary steps to guarantee access to vaccination for groups whose vaccination certificates are nearing their nine-month limit.
For boosters, at the moment there are no studies that expressly address their efficacy and therefore it is not possible to determine an acceptance period, Reynders explained. However, the protection of booster vaccinations may likely last longer than that resulting from the series of primary vaccinations,” he went on.