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Vaccinated Americans to be allowed to travel to France this summer

The European Commissioner confirmed Americans vaccinated with EMA-approved jabs will be free to travel to the EU. She did not give an exact date but it is expected to start by June

An American Airlines plane at Roissy-en-France, France. Vaccinated Americans to be allowed to travel to France this summer

Ms von der Leyen did not state an exact date or a proposed timeline for when Americans might be able to start travelling, but she said that the US was “on track” with its vaccination campaign Pic: Quintin Gellar / Pexels / Pexels License

Americans that are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to and within the EU this summer, Ursula von der Leyen has said, but an exact date has yet to be set.

European Commissioner Ms von der Leyen confirmed the news in an interview with the New York Times (NYT) this weekend.

She said: “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines. This will enable free movement and travel to the European Union.

“Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by the EMA [European Medicines Agency].”

The EMA has approved all of the vaccines that are currently being used in the US. These are Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson.

Ms von der Leyen did not state an exact date or a proposed timeline for when Americans might be able to start travelling, but the NYT said that new rules could come into force by the summer.

The European Commissioner said that the US was “on track” and making “huge progress” with its vaccination campaign, in a bid to vaccinate 70% of adults by June.

She said: “[Travel will depend] on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.”

Her statements are the most high-profile indication yet that international travel for many may be conditional upon vaccination.

Brussels has said that discussions on possible international vaccine certificates are continuing, which could take the form of an official government vaccination certificate issued by the traveller’s own country, which would then be accepted by other nations.

Certificates from the EU and non-EU countries would be accepted in each, and vice versa, it is hoped.

It is likely that travellers would still need to comply with existing rules in each country, such as self-isolation or testing requirements.


‘Start thinking about summer travel’

It comes a week after the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, told BFMTV: “I seriously believe that we can start thinking about [summer travel], probably like last year in Europe.” 

He said that travel would likely be conditional upon vaccination too.

He said: “It will be important to open the continent gradually, and to be able to go on holiday. Everyone must go to get vaccinated. As soon as you are called, go to get vaccinated.”

The European Commission has said it is working on a digital health pass that “will be finished by mid-May”. 

Mr Breton said: “At the same time, we are working with member states to start the first tests [of the health pass] at the beginning of June, for a rollout in mid-June, late-June at the latest.”

Echoing Ms von der Leyen’s comments on cross-country acceptance of travel certificates, he said that the EU would be aiming for “coordination [across countries], as speed is of the essence”.

Travel pass support high in France

Support for a travel health pass has so far appeared high in France, with a recent study finding that only 19% of travellers in France would be unwilling to use a digital health pass for future trips.

Read more: EU health pass: People can ‘start thinking about Europe summer travel’

Almost two-thirds of French travellers (65%) would be happy to keep their health data in digital form during a trip if it allowed them to pass through an airport more quickly, with less face-to-face contact. 

A similar percentage (64%) said they would be happy to store their details digitally if it meant they could travel to more destinations.

And more than half (59%) said that they would be happy to use a digital health pass if it meant that they could start travelling earlier.

Related stories

Covid-19: French company tasked with design of European health pass
EU Covid summer travel pass: What is it and who is eligible?

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