New recommendations for unnecessary travel outside the EU were proposed today by the European Commission, giving priority to vaccinated travelers and at the same time recommending the opening of borders to those who have been vaccinated with vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As a real guarantee, proof of a negative PCR test will always be required for all travelers who have been vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine that is not approved by the European Medicines Agency, as well as for travelers who have recovered from coronavirus.
The new Commission recommendations also introduce a 9-month time limit for the acceptance of vaccination certificates following the initial vaccination series. This takes into account the ECDC guidelines on booster doses from 6 months after the completion of the initial vaccination series and provides for an additional period of 3 months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can be adapted and people have access to booster doses. It is recommended to accept vaccination certificates issued after an additional (“booster”) dose.
The Commission emphasizes that Member States should continue to welcome travelers who have been vaccinated with EU-approved vaccines. Similarly, from 10 January 2022 they should reopen to all those who have been vaccinated with vaccines who have completed the use registration process. WHO emergency services (are free to choose whether to accept such vaccines in accordance with applicable rules).
Those who recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days before their trip and have either an EU digital COVID-19 certificate or a certificate deemed equivalent should also be able to travel to the EU from 10 January 2022.
This is accompanied by strong safeguards: travelers who have been vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine that is not approved by the European Medicines Agency and travelers who have recovered should regularly undergo a negative PCR test before departure. This will ensure that the re-operation will take place safely, as the virus can sometimes break down the immune system.
In addition, all vaccinated travelers should either have completed their initial vaccination series less than 9 months ago or have received a booster dose. This will also be valid from January 10, 2022.
It is clarified that children between 6 and 17 years old should be able to travel to the EU with a negative PCR test before departure, even if they have not been vaccinated. Member States could require additional tests upon arrival, quarantine or isolation. No testing or vaccination is required for children under 6 years of age.
In addition, with regard to epidemiological criteria for third countries, the Commission proposes to modify certain thresholds from 10 January 2022. In particular, it proposes a slight increase in the cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate within 14 days per 100,000 population, from 75 to 100. This means that more countries will be able to qualify for inclusion on the list. It is also proposed for the tests to increase the weekly rate per 100,000 population, from 300 to 600.
It is now up to the Council to consider and approve the Commission proposal and then it is up to the Member States to implement the measures set out in the Recommendation.