With many people already on their Covid booster shot and European Union countries starting to require a booster to keep their EU digital Covid pass valid, the EU is meeting now to decide if it will require boosters to allow people free movement throughout the EU. This is right after Austria has returned to a Covid-19 lockdown.
Free Travel Movement in the European Union May Require a Covid-19 Booster
In Greece, the first step towards mandatory boosters has already been taken as 60+ year old people are now required to have a booster if it has been 6 months since their second dose. Other European countries are preparing for similar moves or have already. Now, that could move into the travel spectrum.
In the European Union, a Covid-19 pass is issued digitally for anyhow that has received their vaccine and is considered “vaccinated”. That means it has been at least 14 days following the last required dose of the vaccine they have chosen to get. The pass also shows proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the last 180 days as well as a laboratory test that has been taken.
Now, boosters are being offered to those that have had at least 6 months pass since their second/final dose. With the Covid-19 pass, for countries that make the booster required, it will “expire” and no longer be valid if the pass is not updated with the booster shot information.
The European Union insists on the need to be unified on the subject of boosters to be able to maintain free movement throughout the EU bloc in the months ahead. Starting today, representatives of all 27 member nations are meeting to talk about this subject. Greece has made the proposal that, in the future, people would only have free movement throughout the EU if they have had a second or third dose in the past 6 months.
The issue is that, while Greece mentions just a second or third dose, if this is indeed talking about “the future” that it could soon mean a fourth dose, and so on. While it is good for a place like the EU to have a standard for travelers to identify easily instead of country-by-country requirements, there is no doubt that this will cause issues in the individual member nations as they face the issue of not only needing to make sure their passport/ID is up to date but now to have to make sure they have had a booster within the previous 6 months of a trip.
If they continue as it is with the current EU Covid pass, in addition to the booster pass, a negative lab result before travel and verification of recovery from Covid in the past 180 days will continue to work as well. Trust me – if they move to only allow travel for people who have received a recent vaccine, there will be a ton of protests throughout Europe. The key words here are “free movement” meaning that travelers could just up and go without needing a test to verify that they are negative for Covid-19.