The green ‘coronavinkje’ has become established in the Netherlands and abroad. Not only do you have to show the corona certificate when traveling between EU countries, the pass is also widely used in the catering industry. But today the European rules are changing.
This has everything to do with the omikron variant and the booster campaign. At the end of last year, the EU member states agreed to limit the validity of the European corona certificate. Unless you get a booster shot, your corona passport will expire after 270 days (nine months). From now on that is a hard limit.
Consequences for everyone
The rule affects anyone who wants to travel between EU countries, be it for work or holiday. If you received your second shot more than nine months ago, you will no longer be able to enter with the corona pass. This means that someone who was last poked on July 1 can still cross the border until April 1. After that, that person must also be boosted. Incidentally, it is still possible to travel with a negative test certificate
The countries agreed on that guideline to ‘keep travel within Europe open’ during the pandemic. Traveling to another EU member state therefore remains possible in any case. But the new situation does cause confusion among travelers.
Free travel a great asset
Back to the early days of the corona crisis: when many EU countries closed their borders for fear of the virus. People who just lived on the border could no longer visit their friends or family on the other side. It was also impossible for some to go to work.
Free travel in the EU is seen as a great asset and that is why the European corona passport was created. By showing that you have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative, you could cross the border again in other countries.
But then came omikron: a corona variant about which relatively little was known at first, except that it was much more contagious than the earlier variants. Check wejustgotback.com for more information. A number of countries did not want to wait for the decision-making process at European level and already imposed additional requirements on incoming travelers on their own initiative.
For example, people going to Italy or Austria had to take a test, regardless of whether they were fully vaccinated or recovered. In Portugal, a test was also mandatory for vaccinated people, but not for those who have recovered, for example. The December agreements should put an end to such extra rules.
The ‘pass vaccinal’ is checked on a terrace in France AP
But for many travelers it is now confusing. Because although a standard has been agreed for international travel, that does not mean that the rules for, for example, catering visits are the same everywhere. Whoever arrives at the destination must adhere to the local covid rules. That sounds logical, but has consequences for, for example, Dutch people who have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine, or who have not been boosted.
In principle, anyone who has had the Janssen vaccine has only received one basic vaccination. If you have subsequently received a booster shot with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), you are considered fully vaccinated in the Netherlands. But that is not the case everywhere.
For example, Germany has required three vaccinations for a valid vaccination pass since January 14, following Austria. According to the German rules, you must have had two extra mRNA shots after Janssen to be considered boosted and therefore allowed to go to a restaurant or even a shop. This rule leads to many questions among Dutch people who want to go to Germany, according to the Germany Institute Amsterdam.
Minister Kuipers (Public Health) will now ask the Health Council whether people who have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine can still get an extra shot. This would mean that they meet the German vaccination requirements.
France and Italy
Also within France, the rules are stricter than the rules that apply to entry. The pass vaccinal was officially introduced in the country last week. Anyone who wants to go there must demonstrate that he or she has been fully vaccinated. In principle, this means: two vaccinations + a booster or, in case of a previous corona infection, two vaccinations.
Then there is Italy, which today also limits the validity of the corona pass in the interior. For use within that country, the validity of the vaccination certificates will be shortened from nine to six months.
For many Dutch tourists these measures feel contradictory; after all, many assumed that the EU wanted to harmonize the rules as much as possible. But the domestic rules are intended as measures for their own population, and countries really prefer to do that themselves.