On the validity period of COVID-19 vaccination certificates at European borders


On 1 February 2022, the decision of the European Commission (EC) that COVID-19 vaccination certificates are valid for 9 months from the primary vaccination for 16 years and older enters into force. The software that reads the certificates at the border will calculate the validity period based on the date of the last dose of the primary vaccination. If more than 9 months have passed since the primary vaccination, the certificate will be considered invalid at the border, no matter what it says.

Some European countries are using these vaccination certificates in domestic operations, such as for access to events, but then the time limit of the validity period after the primary vaccination can be much shorter, down to two months if the primary vaccination was with Janssen vaccine. It is important for tourists to familiarise themselves with such rules at destinations abroad.

A booster dose cancels this validity period, i.e. the validity period of the booster dose will not be defined at this time in applications that read the QR code on vaccination certificates according to the European collaboration. With the booster dose, the period of validity of Icelandic certificates stated on a legible version of the certificate will be extended by 9 months (instead of the current 12 months) following the changes in the period of validity of the primary vaccination in the QR code. If there is reason to recommend a fourth dose earlier, this time may be shortened. 

With these changes, the issuance of vaccination certificates on the basis of a single vaccination with Janssen will be stopped in Iceland, as one Janssen vaccination is insufficient to significantly reduce the risk of infection or serious illness due to Delta or Omicron variants. The Janssen vaccine will continue to be used in a limited manner: for individuals who have an intolerance for the mRNA vaccine while other options are not available. 

A new certificate will be available at Heilsuvera on 1 February 2022. In order for the visible text to be consistent with the reading of the applications used at the border, it is recommended that those who need to travel with a vaccination certificate on or after 1 February obtain a new certificate at their earliest convenience after that date. If electronic IDs cannot be used to apply for a certificate directly from Heilsuvera, the healthcare centre of the individual in question can send a certificate by e-mail after 1 February.

 See also: Timing of the next dose of COVID-19 vaccine under various conditions (in Icelandic).