European Union proposes booster shot requirement for unrestricted travel in the region

Residents of the European Union (EU) who wish to travel throughout the region may soon need to have a coronavirus booster shot, according to the European Commission, which can regulate movement restrictions in the EU. 

Tthe EU's "free movement" regulation typically "enables every EU citizen to travel, work and live in an EU country without special formalities."

The commission this week said it is considering "a standard acceptance period of 9 months for vaccination certificates issued following the completion of the primary vaccination series," meaning that vaccine passes will expire nine months following a resident's last vaccination dose, such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca's second jab, or after the first and only dose in the standard course of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. 

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The EU current system, which has been in use since July, allows a resident who holds an EU Digital COVID Certificate to travel freely without restriction.

The resident can either be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, receive a negative test result or have recovered from COVID-19. 

Under the new system, a booster shot would be required to ensure continued eligibility.

The commission said that "given the emerging data, it can be expected that protection from booster vaccinations may last longer than that resulting from the primary vaccination series. The Commission will closely monitor newly emerging scientific evidence on this issue." 

The new rules about booster doses being required for travel nine months after primary vaccination will also apply to vaccinated, non-EU travelers, such as visitors from the United States. 

 

According to The Irish Times, European Union Commission head Von der Leyen, who is a trained medical doctor, said, “A quarter of EU adults are still not fully vaccinated. If you are unvaccinated, you are more at risk of having severe Covid-19 symptoms. Vaccination protects you, and the others," while stressing the importance of getting vaccinated and receiving a booster shot after the commission approved boosters for all adults.