In a statement, the European Commission indicates that it has "adopted rules on the EU's Covid-19 Digital Certificate, establishing a binding acceptance period of nine months - precisely 270 days - of vaccination certificates for intra-EU travel purposes."
"A clear and uniform period of acceptance of vaccination certificates will ensure that travel arrangements will continue to be coordinated, as requested by the European Council", stresses the community executive, noting that "the new rules will ensure that restrictions are based on the best available scientific evidence, as well as on objective criteria”.
For Brussels, "it is essential to maintain coordination for the functioning of the single market and provide clarity to EU citizens in the exercise of their right to free movement", even though several Member States, such as Portugal, are reimposing obligations regarding entering the country due to the worsening epidemiological situation of Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant.
With regard to the nine-month period, the institution explains that “this validity period takes into account the guidance of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to which booster doses are recommended, no later than six months after completion of the first vaccination cycle”.
Furthermore, “the certificate will remain valid for a grace period of another three months beyond these six months, in order to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can be adjusted and that citizens have access to booster doses,” explains Brussels.
These booster doses are also included in the information on the vaccination certificate, although they are distinguished from the primary inoculation cycle, according to the European Commission.
Data from the European Commission reveal that, so far, 807 million certificates have been issued in the EU, in a total of 60 countries and territories on the five continents that have already joined the system.
This pass, which is free, works similarly to a travel boarding pass, with a QR code to be easily read by electronic devices and in the citizen's national language and in English.
It was initially created to facilitate free movement within the community space, but countries such as Portugal and others have extended its use to verification in social spaces such as events and establishments.