Austria has become the second country to set an expiry date for Covid-19 vaccine passports, causing further confusion for travellers.
On Tuesday the country announced that it is stamping a maximum validity period of 270 days – around nine months – on proof of vaccination, which is currently needed to visit the country.
This means that UK travellers who received their second vaccine injection in January only have until October 2021 to visit the country before their vaccine passport is deemed invalid.
“For single shot vaccines, you must show that you received the vaccine more than 21 but no more than 270 days before arrival,” say the Foreign Office’s new guidelines for entering Austria.
“For double-shot vaccines, you must show that you have received the first injection more than 21 days but no more than 90 days before arrival, or the second injection no more than 270 days before arrival.”
Visitors can instead show a negative Covid test result, or evidence of recent recovery from the virus, but they will have to self isolate for at least five days on arrival if not fully vaccinated within the 270-day window.
Croatia announced similar measures in July, with a 210-day validity period.
These early moves from European countries raise questions around the timeline for booster vaccinations in the UK.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is advising the UK government to offer a series of booster vaccines from September 2021, in order to prolong the effects of the original vaccine rollout through the winter months.
The booster rollout will likely be part of a two-stage programme alongside the annual flu vaccination initiative.
“We are preparing for a booster programme to ensure those most vulnerable to Covid-19 have protection extended ahead of winter and against new variants,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care.
“Any booster programme will be based on the final advice of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Until we receive the independent JCVI advice no decisions can be made on wider requirements for those who receive booster jabs.”