The European Commission plans to make passports for COVID-19 vaccinations valid for only 12 months after the final dose, a source within the bloc told EURACTIV.com, explaining that the Commission is also working on “either a recommendation or an authorized law to extend the use of COVID certificates for travel in the European Union”.
According to the means, the proposal will be presented to the Council on Friday.
If the source’s claims are true, fully vaccinated travelers will have to take a refresher dose of COVID-19 12 months after they receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or 12 months after the shot, if it’s a one-hit vaccine, like Moderna.
Those who do not take the booster shot will have to be tested in order to be able to travel with an EU COVID-19 digital certificate.
The source also said that the majority of EU member states agreed to the proposal, “but they don’t want to make a lot of noise around it” given the high rates of non-vaccinated citizens.
In Bulgaria, for example, only 23.7 percent of the population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, even though the country has already started offering the third dose to those who want to take it, TheSchengen.com reports.
Other countries with high vaccination rates also provided the third dose for at least certain groups. In Norway, 78.6 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated. The country has so far only shown the third shot for those 65 and over. However, she plans to introduce it to everyone by next year.
The Prime Minister’s Office indicated in a press release that “the Norwegian government plans to offer a booster dose to all people aged 18 to 64 next year after at least six months have passed since they received their second vaccine dose” on 15 November.
In Germany, Health Minister Jens Spahn agreed with land health officials to extend the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone, also six months after the last dose was received.
On the other hand, France has required people aged 65 or over to get the third shot so that they can extend the health permit, which is necessary to access many indoor places such as bars, restaurants, shopping malls, hospitals and others.
>> France officially extends health permit requirements until mid-2022
The Commission’s plans come at a time when the European Union is once again the epicenter of the coronavirus, with 52,826 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Germany in the past 24 hours alone, 24,241 in Poland and 20,252 in the Netherlands, among others.
In an effort to remedy the situation, member states are taking individual measures, primarily by making COVID-19 certificates mandatory for travel and access to certain inland regions.
Some member states were even harsher with the non-vaccinated, such as Austria, which imposed a total lockdown on the non-vaccinated. The latter, who has so far been banned from visiting restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, is now obligated to stay at home until the government takes another decision.
The EU digital COVID-19 certificate has been in effect since July 1, 2021, and is scheduled to run until June 31, 2022. The certificate is currently issued and accepted by all EU countries and the Schengen area, as well as the following small European and third countries: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the Vatican.