Vaccine Validity Periods Are Being Shortened In Many Countries
It’s been two years since COVID emerged and turned everyone’s world upside down and despite vaccines helping many of the infected to avoid serious problems, the science has suggested their efficacy decreases over time.
Because of this, the definition of the term “fully vaccinated” shifts quickly and varies from nation to nation. Booster shots are strongly encouraged now in most countries, and many destinations are updating their entry protocols to observe this change.
To help make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of countries that are currently requiring booster jabs in some capacity.
It should be made clear that although these countries now technically require boosters, the actual term is “fully vaccinated”. If a traveler has received their full dosage of the initial round of vaccines within the validity period, they may still enter. Beyond the designated time period, they may be barred from entry or face restrictions.
EU Digital COVID Certificate
Before we dive into the countries requiring a booster in some capacity, we need to explain the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EDDCC).
As you look through the entry restrictions for many countries in the EU, you’ll see this term pop up. The EDDCC is a comprehensive digital certificate that validates the user’s COVID status. That means it shows whether they are fully vaccinated, recently recovered, or have recently tested negative/positive.
Most EU countries are using this as the benchmark for entry to a country, and besides some exceptions, possession of a digital certificate will be enough in most cases. Some individual countries will implement their own restrictions on top of the certificate.
Third country nationals are permitted to receive an EU Digital COVID Certificate but will only be able to do it if they are from an approved country or are already in the EU.
Austria has implemented some of the strictest rules seen in the world, including severe lockdowns and mandatory vaccination laws for its citizens. So it’s no surprise to find them on this list.
As of the 6th of December, anyone who has been vaccinated more than 9 months prior to entry and has not administered a booster, and cannot show proof of recent recovery will be subject to a 10-day quarantine and multiple tests. Anyone under the 9 month period or has proof of recovery will be allowed entry if they provide a negative COVID test
Those with a booster do not need to provide a negative COVID PCR test.
Once in the country, visitors must show proof of full vaccination to enter bars, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses.
Croatia was the first country to make changes to the maximum vaccine validity period. They changed their rules to state that anyone who had a full first dose vaccination more than 270 days before entering the country would no longer be allowed entry without a PCR test.
As with many of the countries on this list, the verbiage is the thing to be careful about. You can still enter the country without an up-to-date vaccine cycle, but you would need to test negative on a PCR test.
Once in the country, restrictions include not being able to attend events of more than fifty people if you do not have an EU Digital COVID Certificate.
France has gone its own route in dealing with COVID. Although visitors can technically still enter with the original full dosage and a negative PCR test, moving around and enjoying France will be virtually impossible if outside the timeframe required for the booster.
The French Health Pass, which is now required to enter all indoor spaces including restaurants, bars, museums, and public transport is only available to those who have received the booster, tested negative, or are under the 5-month timeframe after receiving an initial full dose.
Health passes can be acquired for around 38 euros, and require proof of COVID status.
Greece has taken a similar stance to France regarding the health pass aspect. Instead of creating their own health pass, they are simply using the EU’s digital certificate. Those who have not met the requirements for the EDDCC will not be allowed into bars, restaurants, and other public places.
The government is also barring domestic travel for those who are not vaccinated or have not received their booster within seven months of their original full dosage.
Israel is back open again, and with it are its new restrictions on the vaccine. It will follow the same guidelines as many other countries, and only acknowledge a full vaccine dose if it has been administered with 280 days. Anything beyond that will require a booster.
Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll also need a PCR test and a short quarantine too.
Kuwait almost certainly isn’t on your travel radar, but plenty of Americans share residency with the country and will find themselves unable to enter if they are not fully vaccinated. Residents within the country can’t even leave unless they’ve had a full round of the vaccine or booster depending on the timeframe.
The Netherlands currently has extra rules for Americans entering the country, regardless of their vaccination status, but for when that is lifted having a full vaccination dosage will likely be a big help.
Those coming into the Netherland from a “safe” country, will need to show proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test. Those without the proof of vaccination, or from a high-risk country will be required to self-isolate for ten days upon entry.
The country is having a major spike over the winter period, and currently, the US falls into the High-risk category, meaning it’s probably not worth going unless completely necessary anyway.
Singapore has had on and off success throughout the pandemic. Away back at the beginning they were heralded as a relative success story. Later though, the small city-state fell on its own sword, and they had a lot of problems.
Now, they’re being heavy-handed in their stance on boosters. Within the country, the government is refusing to pay the medical bills of over-18s who refuse to get their booster shot.
Currently, Americans can’t get in at all on their vaccinated travel lane system, but the restrictions will hopefully be lifted on the 20th of January. At that point, all travelers will need to be fully vaccinated which, under their new stance, will include the booster shot if the necessary time window has not been met.
Keep an eye on this one in the coming weeks.
In Switzerland, you might still be able to get into the country, but once again, you’re not going to have the best time.
All travelers over the age of 16 are required to be fully vaccinated. In their definition, 365 days is still the maximum amount. It’s a few months higher than the EU and some other countries, but if you received your last shot in early 2021, you’d better check your dates before you try and visit.
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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