Two European Union member nations, Austria and Croatia, have instituted new rules for international travellers, placing an ‘expiry date’ on visitors' Covid-19 vaccination status.
The E.U. had broadly lifted travel restrictions on vaccinated travellers back in June, although each of its 27 member countries is allowed to dictate its own particular conditions for entry (e.g. testing, vaccination or quarantine requirements).
Croatia’s and Austria’s policies have both thus far stipulated that inbound foreign visitors must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours (PCR test) or 48 hours (antigen test) prior to arrival, certificate of full vaccination with an approved vaccine or evidence of having recovered from Covid-19 infection within the previous six months.
Croatia also allows travellers the option of testing immediately (no more than 24 hours) upon arrival, provided that they self-isolate pending receipt of negative results or quarantine for 10 full days.
Now, those relying upon their vaccination certification to gain entry to either country must have received their final dose of the vaccine no more than 270 days prior to their visit. So far, they’re the only E.U. members to set an ‘expiration date’ on the validity of vaccinations, but it’s possible that others could follow their lead.
Croatia was the first to set a maximum validity period on international travellers’ inoculation status in an announcement made last month. Austria followed suit in August by setting the same nine-month time limit on the acceptability of visitors’ vaccination certificates.
The move follows the emergence of evidence that the efficacy of current Covid-19 vaccines wanes over time, especially if they’re expected to hold up against the more robust Delta variant. While booster injections aren’t part of immunisation plans at this point in time, the assumption is that, if travellers were to receive a booster dose, the term of their vaccination’s ‘validity’ would be reset.