Residents in the European Union will need to inject a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine if they want to travel to another country of the bloc next summer, without tests or quarantines, proposed the European Comission Thursday.
The EU executive also proposed accepting all vaccines approved by the World Health Organization to travel, which would allow non-essential travel to the EU from outside the bloc for people vaccinated with doses manufactured in China e India.
The Commission wants to harmonize the rules in the 27 member states of the European Union to allow free movement, a cornerstone of the bloc, but it faces new restrictions in the face of new records of cases in several European countries, which has led to many of them to start a booster vaccination campaign.
The proposals come at a time when Europe is once again becoming the center of the Covid-19 pandemic, even after successful vaccination campaigns, prompting some countries to consider further restrictions on movement as the continent heads into the boreal winter.
EU states, which will have to approve the Commission’s recommendation, started the debate on the issue on Tuesday. Greece It has proposed that in the future it is possible to travel freely if a dose has been received in the last six months.
Accepting that immunity decreases over time, the Commission proposes that people be considered covered for the nine months following receipt of the last dose of the vaccine, and that this update should apply from 10 January.
Given that the majority of EU residents who were vaccinated received their last doses in the second and third quarters of 2021, their coverage would expire in most cases by the middle of next year.
The EU Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said that the current vaccination coverage amounts to 65% of the population of the European Union.
“In order for everyone to travel and live as safely as possible, we must urgently achieve significantly higher vaccination rates. We must also bolster our immunity with booster shots,” he said.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control on Wednesday recommended boosters of the vaccine for all adults, with priority for those over 40.
The Commission said that there are still no studies that expressly address the effectiveness of the booster dose in the transmission of Covid-19, but said they are likely to provide more prolonged protection than that provided by the initial injections.
Furthermore, the Commission urged EU governments to allow non-essential travel from outside the bloc for vaccinated people who have completed the WHO emergency use list process, as well as for those vaccinated with doses approved by the block.
Until now, the EU has authorized vaccines produced by Pfizer-BionTech, Modern, AstraZeneca (when produced in Europe) and Johnson & Johnson.
In addition to these, the WHO has also approved vaccines produced by the Chinese manufacturers Sinopharm and Sinovac and by the Indian company Bharat Biotech. It has also licensed the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India by the Serum Institute.