Will you need a booster to travel to Europe from 1 February?

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Will you need a booster to travel to Europe from 1 February?

The majority of British holidaymakers are likely to need a booster for quarantine-free or test-free travel to Europe from 1 February.

The European Commission agreed on 21 December that, from 1 February, Digital COVID Certificates will be valid for only 270 days after the second dose.

This means that for unrestricted travel to the EU, those who received their second dose more than nine months ago – which is the majority of UK adults – will likely need a booster.

Austria already requires arrivals to be triple-jabbed unless they have recently recovered from COVID, in which case two vaccines is sufficient.

Other countries, such as the Czech Republic, are already requiring boosters after nine months for test-free entry, and the Netherlands – which has a mandatory 10-day quarantine for UK arrivals – has confirmed it will do so from 1 February.

Croatia, Greece and Switzerland have also said they will reduce the validity of vaccines, but in Greece’s case this will be reduced to just nine months from 1 February.

Meanwhile Malta has placed an even shorter, three-month expiry date on Malta vaccine certificates from 17 January for over 18s. It hasn’t yet said if it will impose entry restrictions on Brits who were vaccinated more than three months earlier.

The EU Commission says its nine-month validity period has been based on ‘available scientific evidence’ as well as objective criteria.

“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,” it said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that booster doses were likely to be needed for travel to more countries.

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