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Boosters and 6 month requirements

Is any country yet allowing a second booster shot for the general population? As far as I can tell, that may come, but in the meantime, if countries are imposing a 6-month max time for tourist entry after the last shot, how are they dealing with their own populations?

Posted by
5766 posts

Last I heard, I believe Israel has been giving 2nd boosters for certain groups for a little while now (high risk, immuno-compromised, over 65, maybe others). "Allowed" for the "general population"? Need to better define those terms.

I believe Israel's plan was/is to roll out 2nd boosters more widely -- beyond the first targeted groups -- soon (that may have started, I'm not sure). Israel was a very early-adopter of mRNA vaccines (they began before approval here in the USA), so they are often (though not necessarily always) a harbinger of what others can expect. They did conduct studies that found immunity/protection wanes over time (and sooner than many of us had hoped), after 3+ months after the first booster.

My guess is we will all be hearing more about 2nd boosters for front-line medical workers and specific other groups (those more at risk, and those who got jabbed very early) here in the USA soon. There has been some quiet talk about that from CDC leadership, but for reasons that are perfectly understandable, they are not addressing that in public statements right now (they're focused on getting first jabs into arms, for now -- travel jabs are not the highest priority, which is absolutely right).

I am not a medical professional and am not giving medical advice. I am looking forward to my second booster when it becomes available, and I think many of us will be getting that when the time is deemed appropriate.

Posted by
6802 posts

Thanks David.

"Allowed" for the "general population"? Need to better define those terms."

I meant, currently, not being in any of those high risk groups (i.e., being in the general population), my local pharmacy or care provide will not give me a second booster. As the US gov't is paying for all them, it gets to say who gets them, and wanting to travel to Italy is not a qualification for it. I got my first booster in November, which means no hypothetical travel there after May, as I understand it. Yes I know, things will change. Just trying to understand policy decisions.

Posted by
7705 posts

No second boosters being even thought of yet in France.

Posted by
108 posts

I am a little confused about these threads. I have read the ruling a couple of times in articles, and it sounds like the expiration date is from your second shot. Or the first shot if it’s a single vaccination. I think the purpose of that is to encourage people to get the booster. The booster extends the certificate. I would imagine if that was really an issue, Rick Steves would have notified tour members regarding that. I believe that’s why you not only have to be vaccinated you need to be boosted in order to go on the tours. I actually sent a message, just before I posted this, to Rick Steves. Hopefully I’ll get an answer and I’ll post that as well.

Posted by
2755 posts

I've read there is actually some backlash to the idea of second boosters, some activists are saying that we (meaning the Western world) should allow others to get their first shots which I guess is still not happening in many countries.

Posted by
517 posts

To add more confusion….then why are EU countries changing the validity of their respective Covid passes from 365 days to 270 days? This would most likely necessitate a second booster for folks who completed their primary doses early and then received their boosters when they became available…sometime between September and mid-November.

As of now there is no 2nd booster on the horizon to my knowledge which may have the effect of travel not being feasible after your 3rd shot has ‘expired’ in 6 months.

Just read that EU regulators are urging caution with offering 2nd boosters due to weakening immune systems:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-11/repeat-booster-shots-risk-overloading-immune-system-ema-says

Posted by
870 posts

Chris - you have brought up a solid point on the 6 mo. rule after the booster. We had our third jab in late August. While we are planning a trip to Paris in the spring, our 6 months will have passed since the last jab. We are beginning to wonder whether we will even be able to go because of this rule. Anxiously awaiting clarification, as no point in buying tickets, etc. if they won't let us in.

Posted by
517 posts

JR…I would check France’ s adherence to the 270 days… I just returned from Paris having received my passé sanitaire in October with my booster…. We always wore our masks outside as well as indoors except for eating.. there are testing tents everywhere…you will love it.

Posted by
367 posts

@Chris - this is our issue too. We are eligible for boosters in NZ - but are hesitating berceuse of the 270 day rule would affect our planned Sept/Oct trip to Europe.

Posted by
108 posts

I just got this reply from the Rick Steve’s office. It sounds like right now it is only Italy with this requirement.

Thanks for checking in. Italy has issue a new regulation that takes effect on February 1st that seems to suggest everyone needs a vaccine dose within the last 6 months – either the second does of the original vaccination series or a booster dose – to be eligible for entry to the country as well as some public spaces as well. We do not know how this will play out for travelers and limited information is available. If it turns out that Italy will actually require second boosters before second boosters become available to our American Tour Members, we will provide a full refund for the tour.

Posted by
11451 posts

I'm so glad this is getting the fearful responses that it is. After all, Covid rules NEVER change once they are implemented. Aren't all the rules for Covid the same as they were six months ago? Or three months ago? Or even last month?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, countries make rules without thinking about the people on the Rick Steves forum. I know, you didn't want to hear it, but it had to be said.

First, and foremost, each country is doing what it can to get their own people either fully vaccinated or boosted. Considering that most boosters started around October, it will be until April when the 6 month rule is up.

And when that happens, do you really think Italy is going to ban tens of thousnds of tourists from the country because it had been more than six months since their last shot and they can't get another? Do you think the Italian hospitality industry, which took a big hit during the lockdowns, is going to sit still over an arbitrary law that has no proven basis in science?

So instead of getting your nerves all frazzled, or twisting your gut into knots, why not just be patient and wait.

But everywhere you look on this forum, people jump up and down when a new rule is put into place and they assume their trip, 6-8 months from now, will be affected. It probably won't.

The only three things that seem to be constant in most cases are proof of vaccination, testing and masks.

Posted by
509 posts

Frank II - thank you for adding some common sense to our panic mode. My hubby and I were just discussing whether we should cancel our trip to Italy scheduled for the end of April. After reading your post we agreed not to make any decision for another month or so.

Posted by
319 posts

From what i have read and posted in another discussion, Italy's new rules do not apply a 180-day window for vaccinations, but only for "covid recovery" certification. I took my information from the Italy Ministry of Health website for COVID - Travelers. https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto&tab=6

Look at the response Rick Steves gave to his travelers: the Italian government has issued rules that "seem to say" something,

To say that travelers are having a fearful response" because they are asking for clarification of new rules when they have travel planned that would keep them from entering a country is frankly demeaning.

Yes, rules will change, and no one here knows when that will be. I don't plan to wait until a week before my trip to cancel it if I can determine now that I cannot enter the country.

Posted by
11451 posts

Yes, rules will change, and no one here knows when that will be. I don't plan to wait until a week before my trip to cancel it if I can determine now that I cannot enter the country.

I would love to know how anyone can determine now what will be in 3, 6 or more months. How can anyone know what will be next month.

All you can do is guess. But if you feel more comfortable canceling based on today's rules, do so. It's your trip and your decision.

Posted by
13219 posts

Becky, as I posted on up your other thread, Italy’s “new rule” (meaning the rule that becomes effective February 1) decreases the period of validity for vaccinations, for the purpose of the Green Pass and Super Green Pass, from 9 months to 6 months. It is expressed in months, not days. That 180-day window you keep citing is for covid recovery certification, not vaccination. It appears in the Ministry of Health regulations for entry into Italy, specifically in the section applicable to List C countries (most of Europe).

https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto&tab=3

For entry into Italy from the US or Canada, switch the document to List D.).

But the new 6-month rule” as everyone seems to call it, applies not to entry into Italy, but to the Green Pass and Super Green Pass that one needs to enter businesses such as restaurants, hotels, museums, and others. This new rule is found in this official document on Green Passes, only available in Italian:

https://www.dgc.gov.it/web/faq.html#gpr

Look under Green Pass and scroll down to open “In quanto tempo viene generata e per quanta tempo è valida La Certificazione?”

Then scroll to the bottom under “Attenzione” and see the last bullet point. The relevant portion clearly states,

“Dal 1st febbraio 2022 la durata del green pass vaccinate e del green pass da guargione post vaccionzione sarà ulteriormente ridotta da 9 a 6 mesi”.

These last words, beginning with “ridotta” are bolded in the document, along with the date of February 1.

Posted by
319 posts

Lola, thanks for the reply. I looked at your link and see nothing talking about a 6-month window for vaccination certificates. No worries.

The bottom line for travelers from the US is each person has to do their own due diligence to know what the rules are so when they step up to the gate at the airport, they can get on the plane...and off at the other end.

Over and Out. :-)

Posted by
176 posts

It is funny that those who were diligent all along are now the ones stuck with the 6 month possible problem. From the first shot to the booster there were timeframes in place. If you were early to get it and then responsible to follow up in the timeframes you are now approaching, or beyond, the 6 month window. Meanwhile the laggards are doing fine.
This 6 months timeframe is going to hit any country implementing it very very hard as it approaches the regular tourist season.

Posted by
13219 posts

Becky, I quoted the specific language about the 6-month limitation for vaccination (In Italian) and described exactly how to find it in the website I linked, in an effort to provide the official source you wanted. That’s all I can do to convince you. I am sorry if you find that annoying, but others may find it useful.

Posted by
319 posts

I am sorry if you find that annoying, but others may find it useful.

Lola, My apologies if you thought I was annoyed with you. Not at all. Maybe annoyed with myself as I did not initially find what you reported. Just looked again at the Q & As and found what you quoted in Italian. (English translation is available...just look for the EN on the right side of the page. The only thing it did not translate was the handy for "your green pass/enhanced green pass is good for this" chart.)

For me, since I am delaying Italy until the fall, the issue is over. For now.

I am annoyed with COVID, antivaxers, most of Congress and Neil Gorsuch...time for yoga. Have a good evening

Posted by
13219 posts

Thank you for clarifying, Becky. I misconstrued your “over and out” comment.

I am sorry about your delayed spring trip but it may be for the best—-you will have a better experience in the fall, I think. We are scheduled for both—-a spring trip to Italy in March and a fall trip for hiking in the Dolomites in September. We did not get our boosters until Oct. 30, so we are good to go through April. But we won’t decide if we are actually going for another month—-everything can be canceled with full refund up til then.

I am somewhat concerned about having to wear a mask all the time, even outdoors where we will be (mainly Emilia-Romagna and Veneto, both yellow right now). But I am leaving the final call up to my husband—-he has been working hard at studying Italian with a tutor for a year now, and also keeping track of the Italian news daily, and he really wants to go.

Posted by
7 posts

From my research on third shot effectiveness, from Reuters. See the last sentence, which says that in those over 60, protection from infection is 54% after the third shot, and declines after 44 days. Of course, protection against hospitalization from omicron is much more robust after the third shot. My plan is to get a fourth shot one month before any departure date, and I understand the Pfizer fourth one could be approved by March.

Among those who recently had their second vaccine dose, effectiveness
against Omicron was measured at 55.2% for Pfizer-BioNTech and 36.7%
for Moderna, compared to unvaccinated people. But that protection
quickly waned over the course of five months, the researchers said.
"We see that the protection is lower and decreases faster against
Omicron than against the Delta variant after a primary vaccination
course," study author Palle Valentiner-Branth said. However, a third
dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine restored protection to 54.6% in
people aged 60 or more who had been inoculated 14 to 44 days earlier,
compared to those with only two doses.


Posted by
517 posts

I just posted on Switzerland forum that 270 day rule is now in effect…..my EU certificate that was uploaded to Swiss Covid app 2 weeks ago showed validity to October 13 2022 and this am validity changed to July 10 2022.

Our RS tour is July 3 - July 14… Arrive July 1 and depart July 15.

Hope things things change before that.