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Vaccination expiration

My husband and I are planning a trip to Austria this October (it was canceled in 2020). The current entry requirements state the 2nd vaccination dose cannot be >270 days. Since we are both healthcare workers, our 2nd doses were received in January which would put us out of compliance for Oct 2021. There are no boosters available. Anyone have ideas or updates on this topic? Thanks in advance!

Posted by
5636 posts

Or ... Austria may change the 270 day restriction as the vaccine proves effective longer. Watching this for a planned December trip.

Posted by
4289 posts

Just take a PCR or antigen test before you arrive.

Posted by
5198 posts

The test groups for the various vaccines were only started a very short time before the first vaccines under emergency authorization were given, so guidance on length of efficacy is only known as the test group is monitored. The 270 days (roughly 9 months) was only recently established, up from what was 180 days, and that from 90 days.

I would not be concerned about it, if justified by the test groups, it will be updated to 1 year soon, or worst case, a booster will be recommended. It will be by vaccination brand though, not across the board. I would not suggest just getting a second regimen of vaccination, unless recommended by a Doctor, and National health organizations have not issued that guidance yet.

My personal thought is that if they were to check your "CDC" card at the border, they would be much more concerned that you have "a" card, not the details on it, and if for some reason you exceeded the 270 days and they have not updated the policy, would not take action unless a booster has been recommended.

Posted by
1738 posts

I saw this too and my planned trip is just barely outside that 270 window, I'm hoping things will change by the fall. Otherwise as noted, it's test time just to be sure.

Posted by
1 posts

I am also in healthcare, and my vaccine will “expire” prior to our trip this fall. While a PCR will get you into the country, you will need to retest every 2-3 days for the duration of your trip if you wish to stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, etc. I took an antibody test which should suffice according to the Austrian government site. From what I have read, it may be less strict outside of Vienna. Also, the Austrian consulate in Washington DC was unaware of this rule, and referred me to the LA location. Most travel agencies are also unaware of the 270 day rule.

Posted by
4289 posts

Chilton - yes and, if current rules still apply, you'll need to show proof of a negative test for all attractions. Testing is free for residents, but tourists will need to pay.

Posted by
25565 posts

The country next door to Austria is Switzerland and they have just extended the validity to one year. Austria and other countries may yet follow suit.

Posted by
5636 posts

Thanks for the reassurance, Nigel. We wouldn't be entering Austria until late December so there's plenty of time for updated information.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much everyone for all of the advice! Yes, the best case scenario is that they will extend the date. I hadn’t been aware that it has been a “moving target “. Will tourists be issued a QR code or other document to show at hotels, museums etc or just show the vaccination card?
Thanks again!

Posted by
4289 posts

Austria wouldn’t issue any code to non-citizens. I guess you just show your US/CDC card and hope they accept it at the restaurants, etc..

Posted by
31271 posts

In this area a third or booster shot is not even available, as government health experts are not recommending it (and presumably won't allow it as there have been no clinical tests to determine the efficacy or safety). Although Pfizer is suggesting a third dose, the experts are still studying whether this is necessary. I guess that means I won't be travelling in Austria anytime soon.

Posted by
4289 posts

Why wouldn’t you travel to Austria? Just take a test. That’s what we all do who live here. Not a big deal.

Posted by
1358 posts

If you are fully vaccinated it should not be a big deal. Just show your proof of vaccination. I am pretty sure that virtually nobody is aware of the 270-days-rule (which may be changed anyway).

Posted by
1738 posts

OMG no, do NOT ignore this 9 month date in the law. Be aware of it and monitor it, yes, and hope for the best, yes, but do not ignore.

Posted by
1358 posts

@phred

Austria is not Germany, people tend to follow rules in a more flexible way.

Anyway, if you are beyond the 270 days after your vaccination, given that this limit will be still in place, just enter the country with a PCR test certificate. This will be checked most likely by the border control officers.

Within Austria, I have been told, people are already tired of the red tape imposed on them by the authorities. So showing your vaccination card will do it everywhere.

Posted by
7 posts

August 27th- We are flying into Munich for 3 days and taking train into Salzburg and then onto Vienna. Our vaccines are within the 270 days. Do we just carry our CDC vaccine cards around? Or is there an EU covid registrar? I have been looking and each country says something different.

Posted by
1358 posts

The EU vaccination document is issued for EU citizens, only. Just carry your vaccination document with you, whatever it is (CDC card, yellow international vaccination passport, etc.).

Posted by
5198 posts

Regarding "green passes". First, there is no EU Green Pass. Each country within the EU issues it's own Green Pass. There are agreements to honor each others passes, and within the EU they use a common QR code format. Some EU countries are either providing non-citizens with a QR code based on documentation of vaccination, others are just allowing the CDC Card as proof, not sure of Austria, or even Germany. France seems to be issuing a QR code, Italy is not.

As mentioned, the companies making the vaccinations, are only issuing guidance on efficacy as the test group passes milestones, which are only a couple months ahead of the first public vaccines.

I would not be too concerned about it, unless in the next few weeks they recommend a booster, then you should get that immediately.

Posted by
6 posts

We are still hoping for our Austrian vacation next month despite the recent Covid changes. We plan to arrive in Vienna by train from Prague at which time I will be 267 days post my 2nd vaccination. Does anyone think this may be a problem? I truly don’t mind testing but I’m worried there will be a quarantine requirement. As of now, there are no updates on the Austrian travel requirements sites but I am worried!

Posted by
226 posts

Cheryl as I mentioned on another post, in 2 days we’ve been asked for the CDC card like 5 times. 3 of the 5 checked the dates but I would say the most important one was the hotel. They definitely wanted to make sure our check in date was within the 270 days.

Posted by
7880 posts

Booster shots are easily available in the San Francisco Bay Area, I believe it applies to all of California, no? I would think it applies to health care workers. I have friends who’ve gotten them and it was easy.

Posted by
4289 posts

Cheryl - are you departing Austria for the US after the 270 days? I think that generally, unless you booster, you need to plan on doing some testing here in Austria. There is no rule (nor do I think there will be) that says that unvaccinated are prohibited from entering. As the vaccination rate in Austria is around 60%, that would be an issue.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and support! I did reach out to the Austrian embassy in LA and here is their reply

“Please be advised that from day 270 of your second shot you are not considered fully vaccinated anymore and therefore you would have to present a negative Covid-test (not older than 24 hours for NAAT tests, not older than 72 hours for PCR tests) every time you want to enter a hotel, restaurant, bar or museums etc”

So, we have decided to see Vienna as planned but leave on day 270 and go to Switzerland instead. We are just too nervous about continuing on as “unvaccinated tourists” (in case further restrictions are enacted in the next month) I am saddened because it has been at least 2 years researching Austria and it’s disappointing to miss the Salzkammergut, Wachau valley, Innsbruck (not to mention we were going to the Dolomites). Hopefully, we will make it back there someday in more normal times. This is a good lesson in flexibility! Thanks again and happy (and safe) travels everyone!

Posted by
78 posts

I just read this on www.austria.org
"End of validity:

360 days after the second inoculation with a two-dose vaccine or 270 days after inoculation with a single dose vaccine

Booster doses received at least 120 days after the second inoculation (or single inoculation with J&J/Janssen) extend the validity of vaccination status for an additional 360 days starting on the day of receipt of the booster dose."

This must have happened in the last couple of days.

Posted by
4289 posts

Hopefully the OP has seen the update. It pays to be patient and flexible. I think we all knew the validity period would be extended…

Posted by
1738 posts

and FWIW, two articles in the Wall Street Journal today questioning the need for boosters at all. World health officials are basically saying damn the third shot, focus on getting #1 and #2 into more of the world's people.

Posted by
6 posts

I am glad they have made an adjustment to the expiration date and we tried to be flexible and wait but I really needed to feel confident we were going to be able to travel there. I just wasn’t able to risk it with our trip being a few weeks away. Hopefully, this information will help other travelers. Thanks for all of the advice!

Posted by
5896 posts

AFAIK, no country is yet authorizing booster shots for everyone, and the EU is advising against them. So Austria is proactively making policy based on their availability? Or is intended to cover those people (immunocompromised) who are supposed to get three (in the US, anyway)? I understand AU will allow them (for their citizens) in October, but it seems like they've made a pretty bold assumption. I guess its not just the US where politicians overrule public health experts.

Posted by
5198 posts

I do not think Austria is advocating booster shots. They just have in their policy for entry a caveat in the event a booster is required.

The 270, now 360 days is based on guidance from the manufacturers of the drug, and regulatory agencies. No one knows how long the vaccination is good for, they only know efficacy based on the test group. The first test groups only received their first shot in late July 2020, the second in mid August. So they just tested the trial group a couple weeks ago at 360 days, to see if anti-bodies remain, apparently they do, so they extended the guidance to 360 days. Some point in the future, they will test again...making it maybe 450 days, or they will find low levels of anti-bodies and say the efficacy is below requirements, and a booster, or another round of shots is required.

The J and J vaccine, is still at 270 because trials did not start until later.

Other countries could use the same logic, but they have chosen not to.

Posted by
5896 posts

Paul, this report is what I had seen: austria booster shots. Summary - Austria will start offering booster shots in October. Could be mis-reported but seems reliable.