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EU Covid certificates' validity period set at 9 months

23 December 2021, 00:45 CET
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EU Covid certificates' validity period set at 9 months

Covid certificate - Photo © European Union 2021 - Source EP

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission adopted rules Tuesday establishing a binding acceptance period of 9 months for the EU Digital COVID vaccination certificates for the purposes of intra-EU travel.

The EU executive says a clear and uniform acceptance period for vaccination certificates will guarantee that travel measures continue to be coordinated, as called for by the European Council following its latest meeting of 16 December 2021.

The Commission says the new rules will ensure restrictions are based on the best available scientific evidence as well as objective criteria. Continued coordination "is essential for the functioning of the Single Market and it will provide clarity for EU citizens in the exercise of their right to free movement," it adds.

807 million certificates - which facilitate safe travel for citizens across the EU during the pandemic - have up to now been issued in the EU, and 60 countries and territories across five continents have joined the system.

The new rules for intra-EU travel harmonise the different rules across Member States. This validity period takes into account the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, according to which booster doses are recommended at the latest six months after the completion of the first vaccination cycle. The Certificate will remain valid for a grace period of an additional three months beyond those six months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can adjust and citizens will have access to booster doses.

The new rules on the acceptance period of vaccination certificates apply for the purposes of travel. When introducing different rules to use the certificates at national level, Member States are encouraged to align them to these new rules to provide certainty for travellers and reduce disruptions.

In addition, the Commission has also today adapted the rules for the encoding of vaccination certificates. This is necessary to ensure that vaccination certificates showing completion of the primary series can always be distinguished from vaccination certificates issued following a booster dose.

Boosters will be recorded as follows:

  • 3/3 for a booster dose following a primary 2-dose vaccination series.
  • 2/1 for a booster dose following a single-dose vaccination or a one dose of a 2-dose vaccine administered to a recovered person.

Commission Delegated Regulation on the validity of vaccination certificates issued under the EU Digital COVID Certificate framework

Commission Decision amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/1073 laying down technical specifications and rules for the implementation of the trust framework for the EU Digital COVID Certificate

Factsheet on the new Commission proposal to ensure coordination on safe travel in the EU

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