EU Responds to Rising COVID Numbers
Given the rapidly increasing number of COVID infections, the EU seeks to shorten the validity of the digital vaccination certificates. The entry rules are also to be adjusted.
The pandemic is far from over. The coronavirus is mutating and spreading at breakneck speed. Although the vaccination rates rose across Europe over the summer, it has become apparent that the effect of the vaccines wears off after four to six months – and thus faster than anticipated.
Many countries rely on booster vaccinations, which EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressly believes is right. “We have to make sure that those who are vaccinated stay immune,” she says. “Booster vaccinations are even more protective than the original vaccination. They will prevent many hospitalizations and deaths.”
Now, the EU Commission seeks to limit the validity of the digital vaccination certificates to nine months after a primary vaccination so that people also have the opportunity to refresh their vaccination protection after six months – which is currently not possible for every age group in some countries.
How long the certificate should remain valid after a booster is only to be decided by the Commission when there is enough scientific evidence as to how the refreshment affects the duration of the vaccination protection.
The Brussels authority considers the digital vaccination certificate to be a European success story. Fifty-one countries on five continents are taking part, the most recent being Singapore and Togo.
The regulation was only intended for one year, but it will be extended until further notice given the continuing rampant pandemic. The Commission also wants to adjust the rules for non-essential travel from third countries to the EU. From March 1st, proof of vaccination should also be required, which is not older than nine months.
Those who have recovered must also show a negative PCR test. This also applies to travellers who have been vaccinated with a vaccine on the WHO emergency list that is not approved in the EU. Unvaccinated children are also allowed to enter the country with a PCR test.
If the Commission has its way, the new rules for the digital vaccination certificate will apply from January 10th. However, the Brussels authority can only make recommendations. The member states are responsible for travel rules and health policy.