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Some countries have set a vaccine ‘expiry date’ for travellers

Many fully vaccinated travellers may be denied entry into certain countries. Austria and Croatia are the first two countries in Europe to give vaccination status an expiry date.

According to the new travel rules, travellers are only considered immune for 270 days after receiving a second vaccination (approximately nine months). Travelers may face disruption and cancellation of plans now that an expiry date has been set.

No other EU country has yet set a similar deadline for travellers. The UK government has not announced plans to roll out a ‘booster jab.’ This means that travellers who are double vaccinated in or before March 2021 may lose their right to visit the destinations as early as November 2021.

The recent rise of the delta variant of the coronavirus, as well as concerns that vaccine protection diminishes over time, are prompting countries to set expiry dates for vaccine certificates based on when a traveller was immunised. If more countries adopt the same rule, this could become a full-fledged trend, requiring travellers to prove not only if they were vaccinated but also when they were vaccinated.

Croatia was the first to establish a maximum validity period for Covid-19 vaccine certificates. Travellers must be fully vaccinated within 270 days of entering the Balkan state. Travelers whose vaccine has ‘expired’ must take a PCR test or rapid antigen test upon arrival, at their own expense, and must self-isolate until a negative result is obtained. If they are unable to be tested, they must self-isolate for ten days.

Austria also announced last week that its vaccine certificate is only valid for nine months following full vaccination. Vaccines that require only one dose are effective from the 22nd day following that dose and for 270 days from the vaccination date. This also applies to people who have previously had Covid and have only received one dose of any vaccine.”

Previously, the only rules for vaccination status concerned the acceptable vaccine brands and the definition of “fully vaccinated” as a 14-day window between the final dose and the traveller’s arrival date.

So far, no other European countries have set a vaccine deadline, but those planning to travel to Europe next year should be aware of the situation and keep an eye on it.

The Biden administration intends to begin distributing vaccine booster doses to Americans of all ages who received their last vaccine dose at least eight months ago next month.