ATHENS – European Union COVID-19 Digital Vaccine certificates should include proof of holders having received booster shots, Greece’s New Democracy government has urged.
In a report, Schengenvisa.info said that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was the first to suggest the passes as a method to show travelers are safe to visit other countries, wants the additional shots required.
That would be a third shot for vaccines apart from the single-shot Johnson & Johnson version from the United States that would require a second shot to raise the efficacy that wanes after six months and makes even the fully vaccinated susceptible to the virus, although generally with lesser symptoms.
In a televised speech, Mitsotakis urged booster shots in Greece and said it should be added to the EU COVID-19 Digital Vaccine Certificates although he has backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory shots for all even as the pandemic has resurged because of anti-vaxxers.
He also said that he would write to the EU Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen and propose the EU pass be given only to those who have received the second or third dose in the last six months.
“In this way, we will avoid any crack in the wall of immunity that has already been built on our continent,” he said as his government has added further restrictions on the unvaccinated, locking them out of many public places.
The site earlier reported that the European Commission is planning to make the COVID-19 vaccination passports valid for a period of 12 months after the final dose.
The information had been given to EURACTIV.com from a source close to the Commission, which said the EU was working on “either a recommendation or a delegated act to extend the use of COVID certificates to travel in the EU.”
According to the same source, fully vaccinated travellers will have to take a refreshing COVID-19 jab 12 months after they received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or 12 months after the vaccine if it was a single-jab vaccine, like Moderna.
The EU hasn’t responded but the report said that booster shots may soon become obligatory for obtaining the vaccination certificates, which currently permit the holder to travel almost restriction-free throughout the block.
In the majority of EU members, the certificate is requested to access indoor areas like restaurants, bars, libraries, shopping centers and other major public gathering places.