The Delegated Act is consistent with the approach adopted by the Commission in its proposal for a new Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to facilitate safe free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic, from 25 November 2021. Vaccination certificates will be accepted by Member States for a period of nine months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination. For a single-dose vaccine, this means 270 days from the first and only shot. For a two-dose vaccine it means 270 days from the second shot, or, in line with the vaccination strategy of the Member State of vaccination, the first and only shot after having recovered from the virus. Under these new EU rules for intra-EU travel, Member States must accept any vaccination certificate that has been issued less than nine months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination. Member States are not able to provide for a shorter nor for a longer acceptance period.
Member States should immediately take all necessary steps to ensure access to vaccination for those population groups whose previously issued vaccination certificates approach the limit of the standard acceptance period. As of yet, no standard acceptance period will apply to certificates issued following the administration of booster doses, given that sufficient data regarding the period of protection is not yet available.
The acceptance period will not be encoded in the certificate itself. Instead, the mobile applications used to verify the EU Digital COVID Certificates will be adjusted: If the date of vaccination is longer than 270 days ago, the mobile application used for verification will indicate the certificate as expired.
To allow for sufficient time for technical implementation of the acceptance period and for Member States’ booster vaccination campaigns, these new rules should apply from 1 February 2022.