EU set to propose 'nine-month expiry date' on Covid vaccine passports for travel

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EU set to propose a 'nine-month expiry date' on Covid vaccine passports for travel - AFP
EU set to propose a 'nine-month expiry date' on Covid vaccine passports for travel - AFP

The European Union is to recommend a nine-month expiry date on Covid vaccine passports for those looking to travel into the bloc, according to reports.

Member states should prioritise vaccinated travellers and continue to welcome those inoculated with doses approved by the EU, documents seen by Bloomberg show.

The memo also calls for countries to reopen for fully-vaccinated tourists who have been jabbed with shots approved by the World Health Organisation from Jan 10.

The European Commission's proposals, which cover travel from outside the EU, also include a new time limit for the validity of Covid vaccines, suggesting boosters will be needed for holidaymakers who had their second jabs more than nine months before their trip.

It is understood an announcement will be made later on Thursday.

National governments will ultimately decide whether or not to act on the recommendation from the EU.

Millions of people who have had a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine are now able to prove this via the NHS app.

Travellers who have had an extra jab are now able to display their vaccination status on the NHS Covid Pass, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said last week.

The feature will enable those who have had their third dose to travel to countries including Israel, Croatia and Austria, where there is a time limit for a vaccine to be valid to skip quarantine.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the move aims to make it easier to travel abroad.

He said: "We want to make it as easy as possible for people to show their vaccine status if they are travelling abroad.

"This update to the NHS Covid Pass will mean people can have their complete medical picture at their fingertips if they are going on holiday or seeing loved ones overseas.

"Getting a top-up jab is our best defence against this virus and I urge all those who are eligible to come forward and get boosted."

It comes amid surging cases in Europe that are threatening a fourth wave of cases.

A number of countries - including Germany, Austria and The Netherlands - have reintroduced lockdown restrictions, with some stricter measures for the unvaccinated.

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