COVID vaccine certificates issued more than nine months ago will soon no longer be accepted for international travel, holidaymakers have been warned.
New EU rules mean only those who have been vaccinated within the past nine months, have received a booster shot or a COVID recovery certificate will be able to travel freely within the bloc.
“From Tuesday 1st February, the EU across the board, not just Ireland, is applying a nine month validity to the primary vaccine doses that we all received last year,” President of the Irish Travel Agents Association Paul Hackett explained to Newstalk.
“So they’re the first two doses, the EU digital COVID cert that we received in 2021 has nine month’s validity from the date of the second vaccination.”
Of the 480,000 people who were vaccinated before 1st May last year, some 44,000 of them have yet to receive a COVID booster shot and, unless they have a COVID recovery certificate, from next week their travel plans will be at risk.
The Department of Health has so far issued 165,904 recovery certificates for January alone - with tens of thousands of young people in particular applying, having been infected during the Omicron surge over the festive season.
In his address to the nation last week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin urged people to get boosted:
“The evidence is there to see: the unvaccinated and the un-boosted suffer the most,” An Taoiseach said.
“Please, if you haven’t already, get your vaccine, get your booster.
“I want to be clear that the pandemic isn’t over – it will still require all of us to be vigilant.”
Main image: An Irish passport and a COVID vaccine certificate. Picture by: Davide Bonaldo/Sipa USA.