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European Commission says boosters needed for COVID pass

By Zarrin Ahmed
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European Commission says boosters needed for COVID pass
People pass a closed punch stall in Germany. The EU may change its requirements for the COVID pass. Photo by Philipp Guelland/EPA-EFE

Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The European Commission on Thursday announced a proposed amendment to the European Union's "COVID pass," under which it would expire nine months after the last vaccine dose.

To keep the pass up to date, travelers will need booster shots to extend the certificate's validity.

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The COVID pass -- which is used for cross-border travel -- has been in place since early summer.

The recommendation comes after the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control showed that vaccine protection worsens after the first six months of the last shot. The ECDC recommended booster shots to prolong immunity.

The EU said an extra three months will give nations more flexibility in enacting their booster shot campaigns. While rollouts are decided by individual nations, the EU purchases shots through procurement agreements.

A negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours can be used to get the EU Digital COVID Certificate. The certificate allows travelers to be exempt from travel restrictions like testing and quarantine.

All 27 countries need to adopt the recommendation which could be updated by early January.

Over 76% of the adults in the EU are fully vaccinated.

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"For everyone to travel and live as safely as possible, we need to reach significantly higher vaccination rates -- urgently," Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said in a statement. "We also need to reinforce our immunity with booster vaccines."

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