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People living in the European Union who wish to travel through the bloc without being tested or quarantined should be given a Covid booster vaccine nine months after their initial vaccination, the European Commission has proposed.

The EU’s executive body has said there should be a standard nine-month acceptance period for vaccines across the bloc, with the aim of removing a confusing mix of rules across the 27 member states.

The Commission is also expected to propose similar measures for travelers entering the EU.

The nine-month period reflects scientific advice that the first round of vaccines tapers off after six months, adding three months to allow governments to set up and implement booster programs.

Both bills are expected to be approved by EU member states before entering into force, which is expected in 2022.

Didier Reynders, the EU justice commissioner, described the policy as a move towards a person-based approach, rather than classifying travelers solely according to their country of departure.

“Our main objective is to avoid divergent measures across the EU,” Reynders said. “This also applies to the question of boosters, which will be essential in the fight against the virus. Among other measures, we propose today that the Council [of EU ministers] agrees on a standard period of validity for vaccination certificates issued after the primary vaccination course. It will be crucial to agree on this proposal for the coming months and for the protection of the free and safe movement of citizens. “

Under these plans, cross-border commuters, truck drivers and children under 12 would continue to be exempt from travel rules, although the list of exempt groups has been reduced.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged European citizens to get vaccinated, after EU health agencies recommended booster shots earlier this week as part of a strategy to stem an upsurge in infections.

Von der Leyen, a qualified doctor, said: “A quarter of European adults are still not fully vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you are more at risk of having severe symptoms of Covid-19. Immunization protects you and others.

France said Thursday it would make Covid-19 booster injections available to all adults, toughen rules on wearing face masks and tighten health passport checks as it seeks to curb a fifth wave of infections that threatens to undermine its economic recovery.

The number of infections is doubling every 11 days in France, but officials said there was no need to follow European countries such as Austria which have reimposed the lockdowns.

French Health Minister Olivier Véran said anyone aged 18 or over would be eligible for booster shots and the period between full vaccination and booster shots would be reduced to five months instead of six.

Véran said France currently has around 25 million doses of the vaccine, enough to speed up the recall campaign. Booster shots are currently only available for those over 65 and for those with underlying health conditions.


theguardian Gt

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