First country of travel does not accept cross vaccination – what travelers need to know

Malta tightened the rules on entry. The Mediterranean island is proceeding in a similar way to the USA. Recovery certificates should no longer be accepted for EU countries. The same applies to cross-vaccination. According to the Maltese embassy in Germany, it is no longer valid. The Federal Foreign Office also confirms relevant information. It is to blame that Malta only considers vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The industry service “FVW Touristik” first reported the change.

Anyone who enters Malta as a convalescent person or with a complete cross-vaccination must also submit a negative rapid antigen test or PCR test. As it says in a document, the corresponding digital documents are “carefully checked” upon entry. Malta, with just under 400,000 inhabitants, has a 7-day incidence of 12.7. The government appears concerned that within two weeks the incidence (at 2.3 in mid-June) had risen by over 500 percent.

Why does Malta not accept cross vaccination?

Cross vaccinations, or mix-and-match vaccines, consist of a vector and an mRNA vaccine. As a rule, those entitled to vaccination receive Astrazeneca at the beginning and later either vaccine preparations from Biontech or Moderna. Because such cross-vaccinations are not officially carried out by the Maltese health authorities, Malta does not accept them upon entry, the authorities explain. The same applies to Russian vaccines such as Sputnik V or China’s Sinopharm.

Air Malta customer service explains that those affected will need a negative PCR or rapid antigen test upon entry if their vaccination certificate is not recognized by the government authorities. All children from the age of five must also perform a rapid PCR or antigen test.

In Germany, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) had issued a corresponding recommendation for cross-vaccinations. All federal states have been implementing this recommendation at least in the vaccination center since last Friday. According to current study results, the immune response after such a vaccine combination is “clearly superior” to the administration of two Astrazeneca doses.

At the same time, few countries in the EU implement this cross-vaccination. There is currently no recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the vaccination combination. This is one of the reasons why the EU only made a simple recommendation when introducing the digital vaccination pass (health certificate). The EU countries are free to accept such mix-and-match vaccinations within the EU.

Unvaccinated? In these countries you have to live with restrictions

It is not just the cross vaccination that causes chaos at the airport. The first EU countries no longer even allow unvaccinated travelers into the country. The plane tickets are cheap, but those who do not have a vaccination certificate will be turned away at the check-in counter. This is currently the case in Norway. The country has so-called “green zones” too defined within the EU. If travelers do not come out of these “green zones”, they are not allowed to travel to the country without vaccination.

Other countries could follow suit.

For example, Slovakia restricts travel for unvaccinated people from July 9th. Those who are not fully vaccinated must be in quarantine for at least five days. By the way, tourists who received a second vaccination 21 days ago are considered “fully vaccinated”. It is unclear whether cross-vaccination applies. The responsible embassy did not comment.

Finland does not allow tourists to enter if they come from high risk areas. For example, if you want to travel to Finland from Portugal (high risk area), you will be turned away at the airport.

In Greece, unvaccinated people can only get on ferries or planes with a negative rapid antigen test (for a fee). This recently also applies to domestic travel.

  • Case study: Petra from Berlin is not vaccinated. She travels from Berlin to Crete and plans a day trip to the island of Santorini. As an unvaccinated person, she needs a negative rapid antigen test or a negative PCR test on arrival. On the day of the excursion to the island of Santorini, Petra also needs a new rapid antigen test in order to be able to take the ferry at all.

“Despite the European certificate for digital COVID-19, each country is still responsible for defining its own entry rules and regulations, which are not standardized at EU level,” said the European Commission when asked.

Do you want an even deeper understanding?

Well informed through the crisis with our Corona guide: Experts explain what you now need to know about Covid-19.

Trip planned in July, August or September: what should I pay attention to?

In principle, travelers should keep an eye on the incidence figures for the desired travel destination before departure. Important to know: So far, countries were classified first as high-risk areas and then as virus mutation areas.

If the incidence jumps to over 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, travelers should inform themselves regularly about the course of the infection situation. Then the resort is considered a “high risk area”. Entry and exit is made more difficult overall.

The travel traffic light from FOCUS Online provides an overview:

Due to the dynamic location, it is advisable to take out travel insurance. We generally advise against making bookings in high-risk areas, as the free cancellation right also expires here. Lawyer and consumer expert Roosbeh Karimi from GetRight advises in an interview with FOCUS Online to conclude a Travel cancellation insurance.

Karimi explains that providers differentiate between an annual policy that covers a certain amount per year and individual policies that are booked for a specific trip. Ideally, travelers should check whether the insurance is “suitable for pandemics” when booking and before taking out the policy. Anyone who has taken out outdated travel cancellation insurance should “update” the annual tariffs accordingly in order to also be able to make use of pandemic protection.

The Covid travel protection is particularly helpful when, for example, an airline refuses to board a passenger who has a fever and a hotelier or vacation rental owner denies entry to a guest with symptoms. Incidentally, this can also affect fully vaccinated and convalescent people, not just corona infected people.

Also one private foreign health insurance is worth it on vacation, recommends Sandra Klug from the Hamburg consumer center, for example. According to her, such a policy costs around ten euros a year.

The advantage of foreign health insurance: With it, vacationers do not have to pay the treatment costs themselves in the event of an emergency. In addition, the provider usually pays for a medically necessary return transport to Germany – which the statutory health insurance companies usually do not do.

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