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EU eyes nine-month expiry on Covid passports

Europe's Digital Covid Certificate has allowed for freedom of travel during the pandemic.

The European Union is expected to recommend a nine-month expiry on Covid vaccine passports, according to media reports.

The EU's Digital Covid Certificate permits freedom of travel during the pandemic by indicating the carrier's vaccination status, whether they have recovered from Covid, or whether they have recently tested negative. The European Commission is now recommending that the certificate should have a lifespan of no longer than nine months after the second dose (or first dose of the one-shot Janssen vaccine).

However, it made no recommendation as to how long a third, booster shot would remain effective for. The commission admitted that protection from booster vaccinations may last longer than the primary vaccination shots.

Much of Europe is now experiencing an uptick in cases as the continent moves into winter. Countries with lower vaccination rates, including Germany, Austria, Belgium and much of Eastern Europe, are seeing infection levels surge as a dreaded fourth wave threatens the bloc. Lockdown measures have been reintroduced in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

Booster programmes are now underway in many places, including the United Kingdom, which this week opened bookings for third vaccinations to all adults aged 40 years and over. This week the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggested all adults in the bloc should receive a booster, with priority given to the over 40s.

Booster shots are recommended around six months from the time of the second dose.

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