Vaccination Certificate Expiry – What does this mean for vacation trips?

Most Germans have rarely looked at the Corona Warning app or the CovPass app lately – it is no longer necessary to show a digital vaccination certificate when visiting restaurants, cafes or bars in Germany.

However, when planning a vacation, the importance of a small QR code is again important: many countries of the European Union still impose entry restrictions. When does the certificate expire? And what should be taken into account abroad? Overview.

When do digital vaccination certificates expire?

First of all, you need to distinguish between the technical expiration date and the expiration of the vaccination protection or the state of recovery. For technical reasons, there is an expiration date for the digital vaccination certificate, as the Federal Ministry of Health explains on its website. This depends on when the certificate was issued, and the validity of the digital proof is limited to 365 days. This means that although the certificate has technically expired, the protection against vaccination does not.

The first vaccination certificates should expire at the end of the second quarter of 2022, that is, in June. Some online users say their Corona Warning app has already informed them of the upcoming expiration date. According to the Robert Koch Institute, nothing needs to be done in this case. The application update will be available before the certificates expire – the proof can be updated there with just a few clicks.

Before that, there is still a unified European solution: the European Parliament wants to negotiate with member states about the extension of the certificate of vaccination. At the beginning of May, the majority of European Parliament members voted in favor of extending the EU vaccination certificate until June 2023.

Validity of the initial vaccination and recovery status

Anyone who has already received the basic and booster vaccination can sit back and relax: the booster vaccination certificate is currently valid indefinitely throughout the European Union. The situation is different for people who have not yet received a booster dose or who wish to claim their condition recovery.

After completion of a basic immunization (eg after a first and second vaccination with a Pfizer/Biontech vaccine or a vaccination with a Johnson & Johnson vaccine), the digital vaccination certificate is valid for 270 days when traveling throughout the EU. After these nine months, vaccination protection ends. Those affected must then take care of the booster vaccination in order to continue to be considered immune.

Otherwise, they are required to submit a negative test upon entry. In addition, they may be required to quarantine upon arrival from particularly affected areas. The Basic Certificate of Immunization is only valid indefinitely for those under 18 years of age.

28 days after a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result, the Germans are considered to have recovered, and then they receive a so-called refund certificate. These certificates have been valid for only 90 days since January 2022 in Germany and upon entering the Federal Republic. At the end of the three months, those infected with the vaccination should be taken care of.

What applies abroad?

All EU member states and 40 non-EU countries (including Israel, Norway, Thailand and Turkey) recognize the digital vaccination certificate as proof of immunization. In some cases, registration must be done upon entry, and the vaccination certificate is often verified by flight attendants or railway personnel. The rules that apply when entering the country can be found on the website of the European Union.

It is also important that the EU-level validity periods for vaccination certificates apply to entry only. When it comes to accessing events, bars or public transport, each EU country can decide at its own discretion which evidence is required (eg 2G or 3G) and how long it will be valid.

In Italy, for example, proof of basic immunization or cure is only valid for six months. Therefore, it is worth taking a look at the rules currently in force in the vacation country before departure – also regarding the possible obligation to wear a mask.

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