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Covid-19: EU Proposes Prioritising Vaccinated Travellers in Updated Rules

Photo source: European Commission

The European Commission proposed on Thursday, a revision to non-essential travel rules, giving priority to vaccinated travelers and advising them to get booster shots against Covid-19 if they wish to extend the validity of their EU Digital Covid Certificate. 

It has called on EU states to reopen “systematically” to those vaccinated with vaccines endorsed by the WHO in addition to those vaccinated with EU-approved vaccines.

All travelers who have been vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine which is not approved by the European Medicines Agency, as well as recovered travelers will be required to present proof of a negative PCR test.

The Commission also proposed new EU Digital COVID Certificate rules, announcing that the travel document will be valid for nine months after the last vaccine dose.

If someone wishes to extend the certificate’s validity beyond the nine-month period, they will be required to get a booster shot in order to travel.

Photo source: European Commission

Photo source: European Commission

Taking into account European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidance released on Wednesday, the Commission also proposed a nine-month time limit for the acceptance of vaccination certificates after the primary vaccination series. 

In its statement, the Commission also recommends discontinuing admission rules based on country of origin and instead focus on traveler vaccination status as of March 1, 2022, giving vaccinated, recovered or essential travelers priority. 

“Taking into account ECDC guidelines and to enable member states to adapt their vaccination campaigns and give citizens access to booster medicines, we are proposing a nine-month validity period for the EU Digital Certificates,” said Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.

“At the same time, no matter how tired we are of the restrictions, we must continue to strongly encourage everyone to continue to respect public health measures. Masks must stay for the time being,” she said.

Photo source: European Commission

European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said the commission was also proposing to extend its rules on the EU digital certificate beyond next summer.

Under the updated rules, children between six and 17 years of age with a negative PCR test taken before departure even if not vaccinated can travel to the EU. 

It is up to EU countries to decide whether to request additional testing after arrival, quarantine or self-isolation. 

For more on the new rules go here.

The next step is for EU members to review and approve the Commission’s proposals.

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