This month, Austria and Croatia both announced they would not be accepting vaccine passports from UK travellers who received their second jab more than 270 days before arrival. Jenny Southan reports
In a blow to both travellers and the travel industry, it seems that the status of “Vaccine VIPs” will have a shelf life, amid concerns that immunity from the Covid-19 inoculation subsides over a matter of months, meaning booster shots will be needed.
Austria has become the first country to respond to this by saying that it imposing an expiry date of about nine months on vaccine passports, meaning travellers won’t be considered “fully jabbed” unless they have had the latest booster shot.
At the moment, double-jabbed travellers get special privileges when it comes to going abroad, such as avoiding quarantine and even PCR testing, but these are likely to be eroded, resulting in increased testing paid for by consumers to ensure they aren’t infected.
Currently, non- or partially-vaccinated UK travellers can enter Austria if they can show evidence of a negative Covid test or recent recovery from Covid, but must also self isolate for five to ten days. Croatia will let travellers whose vaccine status has “expired” to take a PCR test on arrival.
Earlier today, I was asked to provide a comment to The Telegraph on the matter of expiring immunity passports.
Jenny Southan, founder and CEO of Globetrender, a travel trends forecasting company, says the prospect of vaccines losing their efficacy is “alarming and demoralising” and predicts that some countries will try to impose restrictions or extra testing requirements on those who have not received the latest booster jab. However, she adds that with “economies suffering as much as they are, it seems an unwise move.”
She anticipates there will be no snap recovery and that travel will remain difficult over the next year.
“If anyone hopes that 2022 is going to be any better than 2021, then they are being over-optimistic. If anything, it’s time citizens demand governments give them back their freedom as many of the travel restrictions we face are political rather than logical from a well-being point of view.”