EU proposes to relax entry of those who took Coronavac in 2022

The European Commission will change its recommendation for travelers vaccinated with drugs approved by the WHO (World Health Organization) but not yet by the EMA (European regulatory agency), such as Coronavac.

As of March 2022, the 27 member countries of the bloc “must” allow these travelers to enter -under the current rule, which remains in force, they “have permission” to receive foreigners-, provided they present a negative test for the SARS-CoV-2.

There will no longer be a list of authorizations for certain countries of origin, which today allows any non-essential travel. The restrictions will be taken according to the vaccination status of each passenger. The final word on the demands, however, still rests with national governments.

In another change announced on Thursday (25), all travelers, residing or not in the EU, must take a booster dose within nine months after full vaccination so that their Covid certificate remains valid.

Photo: Breno Esaki/Agência Saúde DF

The new regulation on certificates is expected to enter into force on January 10, after approval by the European Council (leaders of the 27 members).

According to the Commission, the requirement of the third dose for the certificate to remain valid takes into account scientific evidence that the protection offered by vaccines against infection is reduced after six months of the second dose – and, to a lesser degree, also for serious illnesses and deaths .

The additional three months are for countries to adapt their vaccination campaigns and be able to apply the third dose to everyone who has had their full vaccination for at least six months.
Campaigns are at different stages in the bloc, with some countries applying reinforcement only to the elderly and vulnerable.

The validity period of the certificate after the booster dose has not yet been defined – the decision will depend on scientific evidence and the evolution of the pandemic.

The new rules for the validity of the certificate, if approved, should apply not only for travel, but also for activities where it is required in different countries – for example, for going to restaurants, nightclubs or for face-to-face work.

The UK, for its part, is expected to adopt a ban on flights from six African countries, according to British newspaper The Guardian, which cites government sources. South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be placed on the red list. The justification for the measure is the discovery of a new variant in the region.

INTERNAL TRAVEL

According to the Commission, 650 million digital certificates have already been issued in the European bloc, and there are 24 other countries connected to the EU system – in Latin America, only Panama is on the list.

The certificate records vaccination with immunizers authorized by the EMA (European regulatory agency), recovery from a virus infection or the negative result for the presence of Sars-Cov-2.

In the case of vaccines not yet authorized by the European regulator, such as Coronavac/Sinovac or the Russian Sputnik, the decision is up to each country in the bloc, for European residents.

Photo: Agência Brasil

The Commission’s recommendation is that travelers from within the block who hold the certificate are not subject to additional restrictions such as quarantines or testing. EU residents who have the document and arrive from outside the bloc will be subject to different rules, according to the risk of the country of origin – there are four bands, from green to dark red.

The classification criteria will change, to include immunization – it will now take into account the rate of new cases per 100,000 population, the percentage of inhabitants vaccinated and the rate of tests performed.

By the current criteria, on this Thursday none of the countries in the bloc are in the green zone, and only Italy is mostly yellow.

Residents who do not have a digital certificate will still be able to travel within the EU if they test negative for a coronavirus or undergo quarantine, among other restrictions that are the responsibility of each member country.

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