EU Agrees on 9-month Validity Period for Vaccine Certificate

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The European Union Digital Covid Certificate will be valid for 9 months (270 days) without a booster, starting 1 February 2022.

EU residents and citizens can use the COVID-19 pass for intra-EU travel for 9 months following full vaccination. It will only remain valid after this point with a booster shot.

The European Commission confirmed the validity period in a press release issued on 21 December 2022. The decision has been made based on scientific evidence and to ensure travel measures across the bloc remain coordinated.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said ‘A harmonized validity period for EU Digital Covid Certificate is a necessity for safe free movement and EU level coordination’.

9-Month Validity Period Based on Scientific Evidence

The 9-month validity period takes into account advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The ECDC recommends booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines are administered within 6 months of full vaccination.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate will remain valid for these 6 months, plus an additional 3 months to allow for access to booster jabs. This makes a total validity period of 9 months, specifically 270 days, after the first vaccination cycle.

Following the booster shot, the validity of the vaccine passport will be extended without a limit. There is currently not enough scientific data to know for how long the booster protects.

Validity Rules Apply to Intra-EU Travel

These new rules, which come into effect in February, apply to the purposes of travel.

Movement within the EU has been the main function of the vaccination certificate. It has allowed EU citizens and residents to visit other countries during the pandemic without coronavirus travel restrictions.

Didier Reynders, Commissioner of Justice, highlighted the importance of the accepted validity period for disruption-free travel: ‘The acceptance period of 9 months will give citizens and businesses the certainty they need when planning their travels with confidence.’

Several European nations have also applied the pass to other areas of life. A vaccination certificate, such as the EU Digital Covid Certificate, is required to enter restaurants, gyms, and other public spaces in some countries.

Member States are encouraged to apply the 9-month validity period at a national level to provide greater clarity for citizens and residents.

Recording the Booster on Vaccine Passports

The EU Commission has also introduced new rules for recording the booster jabs on vaccination certificates:

  • Booster following 2-dose full vaccination will be recorded as 3/3
  • Booster following single-dose vaccination will be recorded as 2/1

EU countries are now working to accelerate booster programs in response to the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, omicron.

Experts are recommending booster jabs be administered to everyone over the age of 18.

EU Digital COVID Certificate Success Story

The press release announcing the new validity period described the EU Digital COVID Certificate as a success story.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, stated the certificate had become a ‘global standard’.

The pass has facilitated safe travel in the EU since July 2021. According to the EU, 807 million certificates have been issued so far.