The Commission proposes to make free movement in Europe conditional on the third dose. The health pass would no longer be valid after nine months.
Correspondent in Brussels
The pandemic is starting again on the continent. EU Member States are taking measures in disarray, including on the administration of booster doses. And the risks are increasing that people traveling across Europe will find themselves stranded at a border despite having a valid health pass in their country.
It is to avoid this catastrophic scenario that the European Commission presented Thursday a recommendation to Member States on the validity period of health passes for European travelers.
Concretely, they would be valid for nine months from the injection of the second dose. And only for travel. Once in the country, the traveler will have to comply with the rules in force for access to restaurants, bars, etc. If at the end of this nine month period, he has not received his booster dose, then his pass will no longer work. And, if checked at an internal EU border, it would probably be impossible for him to cross it, except to present a test, to demonstrate that he is cured of the Covid or to accept a quarantine.
Additional three-month period
It is now up to the Member States to consider this recommendation. The Commission wishes to see it apply from January 10, 2022. “It will be crucial to agree on this proposal for the coming months and for the protection of the free and safe movement of citizens.», Underlined the European Commissioner, Didier Reynders. With this recommendation, Brussels’ objective is also to encourage EU countries to speed up recall campaigns. “This additional 3-month period (which is in addition to the recommended six-month period between the first two doses) must allow them to organize», Explained Didier Reynders.
The President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also launched a new call for vaccination on Thursday, while the health situation is deteriorating sharply in Europe. “We are facing a new wave of infections, and we must step up this vaccination effort. The good news is that we have enough vaccine doses for this. By the end of the week, Europe will have delivered one billion doses to member states“, She declared Thursday, recalling that”a quarter of adults in the European Union are still not fully immunized“.
The other recommendation presented by the Commission concerns travel from third countries to the EU. Brussels, which wishes to take into account the rise of vaccination in the world, will no longer rely on the epidemiological situation in third countries to accept or refuse non-essential travel but on the situation of travelers. As of March 2022, “all vaccinated people will be able to travel to the EU», Said Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson. This will apply to those who have received the vaccines receiving the green light from the European Medicines Agency but also those validated by the World Health Organization, in particular the Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac. In the latter case, however, travelers must present a negative PCR test in addition to their vaccination certificate.