Many countries in Europe, as well as across the world, have strict rules implemented around vaccine expiry dates. This may affect your travel and testing requirements if you’re planning on getting away this summer. So here’s what you need to know.
As with most vaccines, the effectiveness and level of protection drop over time, hence the push for Covid-19 booster jabs at the later end of last year. Scientists are continuing to study the effectiveness and immunity lifespan of vaccines, however early evidence shows that about six months after the second dose of a vaccine, the protection it offers against Covid-19 can start to wane.
Since February 1 this year, all EU member states have been using a vaccine-passport expiry date of 270 days after your second dose (or the first dose in the case of single-dose vaccines) for intra-EU travel. Validity can be extended through a booster jab - the European Commission is still reviewing data on how long the protection offered by booster jabs will last.
The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
However, please bear in mind that the 270-day rule is being adopted by countries outside of the UK too, so it’s always worth checking before travelling.
So if your last jab was administered more than 270 days ago - which as of writing would be before October 8 - then you'll need evidence of a booster jab to be considered fully vaccinated by EU standards. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot travel, however you may have to take a test.
To help illustrate this point, if you were to travel on July 25, you must have had your last vaccine on October 28 or after:
For example in Spain, if you are over 18 and have not received a booster, you must have had your last jab at least 14 days before travelling and no more than 270 days ago to qualify as fully vaccinated. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to present one of the following:
documentation certifying proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours before entering Spain, or a negative antigen test within 24 hours.
proof of having recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months - i.e. a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your COVID-19 status on entry to Spain.
Will you be needing a test this summer? Book with Qured. Our antigen tests for travel are accepted worldwide, just £14, free shipping and results in 2 hours with a GP-signed Fit to Fly certificate included.