The two countries added new restrictions for entry, noting that travelers who are fully vaccinated must have received their last shot within the past 270 days prior to entry. In practical terms, that means anyone whose final shot came more than nine months prior to arrival is no longer considered vaccinated.
Accordingly, those whose shots have passed the ”expiration date” will have different standards to meet before being declared safe for entry into the countries. Visitors to both countries must provide evidence of a negative COVID test or a recent recovery from COVID. Croatia will let travelers whose vaccination status has expired take a PCR test upon arrival. They must self-isolate until the negative result is received.
While a booster shot is being touted as the ultimate solution to the vaccination expiration and may soon be accepted in Austria and Croatia, booster shots are not available in most countries. In the United States, they are set to become available in the fall in most cases. Austria will make booster shots available in October.
Jenny Southan, CEO of the travel trends forecasting firm Globetrender, says the prospect of vaccines losing their efficacy is “alarming and demoralizing,” and called the move by the two countries unwise from an economic standpoint.
Austrian officials made the move as coronavirus cases have spiked in the country in August. The number of infected people has quadrupled during the month, with government officials placing blame on visitors and citizens returning to the nation from vacations abroad. The moves by Austria and Croatia come in advance of what could be a new ban of all non-essential travel by Americans to European Union countries.
Fortune reported this week that EU leaders will discuss the idea of a ban in the coming days as coronavirus cases in the United States continue a rapid rise.