Iceland, Greece, And Latvia Push Boosters
Iceland has become the latest country to shorten its vaccine certificate validity period. This means that boosters will be required to have a valid vaccinate certificate and enter the country in the future. They follow several other European countries to tighten their entry restrictions regarding vaccinations and boosters.
The new regulations will begin on January 15th and will require anyone entering the country with a vaccine passport must have had a booster shot if their second dose of the vaccine was more than 9 months ago.
Originally, vaccine passports for the country were recognized if the second jab was administered up to twelve months before, but to follow scientific developments, the time period has been reduced.
The move follows the EU’s recommendation to lessen the time period. Current estimates suggest that 6 months is the ideal time for a booster jab, but the nine-month window allows for countries’ individual policies and implementation strategies to catch up.
The EU’s regulations on the subject come into play on February 1st, giving businesses and country’s some time to plan ahead, but several other countries besides Iceland have already moved ahead with their own mandates, and in some cases have shortened the period even further.
The Netherlands announced on the fifth that they will be making the recommendations their new rule as of the same date. Sticking firmly to the same suggested timeframes as the EU put forth. It should be noted that other restrictions The Netherlands still has in place can overrule the presence of a fully vaccinated visitor. For example, they recently installed a mandatory quarantine for American travelers, regardless of status.
Latvia has two forms of the new rules being implemented. For travelers entering the country, the 9-month validity stands in line with the EU’s new policy. However, once in the country, the rule is split in two. If someone has administered the Janssen one-dose vaccine, they must have the booster within five months as opposed to the full nine. For those with accepted two-dose vaccines, the nine-month period remains the benchmark.
This aspect of the rule will impact daily life in the country, but will particulate focus on citizens who may face work issues if not fully vaccinated.
Greece has gone further than the rest, choosing to shorten the period to seven months. It is unclear as to what restrictions those who do not meet the criteria will face at this point, but it can be expected considering the sharper ruling.
Once in Greece, vaccine validity affects domestic travel. Those who are not classified as fully vaccinated will not be able to fly within Greece. In this case, fully vaccinated would be classed as 14 days after the second dose (first of Janssen), and within the 7-month time limit set after this. From there, the booster would be required for internal domestic travel.
Austria was ahead of the curve in this case. The country has made headlines over the past months for its increasingly strict regulations surrounding COVID including a mandatory vaccination program requiring all citizens to be fully vaccinated by February.
Back in December, they shorted the vaccine validity period to the now recommended 9-month limit, and then classed the single-dose Janssen vaccine as not good enough. Those who received the Janssen vaccine, even within the 9 month period are now not classified as fully vaccinated. This rule began being enforced at the beginning of the year. All those with Janssen vaccines in the country will now need to have a booster of another vaccine to avoid penalties.
Changes like these should be expected in the coming months, and travelers are strongly advised to keep on top of any shifts in regulation before departing. These things can change quickly, so preparation is key to avoid any disappointment and frustration.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories