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What you need to know about booster shots for COVID-19 vaccines

As authorities are ramping up the availability of booster shots for COVID-19 vaccinations, we're seeing some travellers now entering the gray realm of mixed-vaccines doses.

The most common pattern I have observed is people who in the past received two doses of Astro Zeneca and who are now following medical advice by taking an mRNA vaccine as a booster.

I will not speak to the medical side of things - this is handled quite nicely in this article - however, from a travel perspective, there are a few things you should know.

While the science is clear - mixed vaccine regimens work very well in protecting people against infections with the novel coronavirus - some countries do not subscribe to this science, simply because they have not used the mixing of vaccines for their own citizens. It means they may not have rules for this situation. In a worst-case scenario a border official who goes by the book may categorize someone with a mixed vaccine dose as unvaccinated.

Is this a bad thing? Well, it depends on where you plan to travel. And while you often won't encounter an issue, you should some prepared for that worst-case scenario.

Refer to the maps below and you will see that 44 countries will allow unrestricted access to fully vaccinated travellers, while an additional 106 allow you to submit a negative test and then enter. If you are treated as unvaccinated - and I stress that this is a worst-case scenario - only 6 countries will allow you in without question but still a whopping 89 countries will allow you in after submitting a negative test.

There are however many countries who have clear rules on mixed vaccine doses - typically countries where tourism is a major contributor to the economy. Those countries are not included in the tally of freely accessible countries. So let's delve a little deeper in to one of those countries. On the Europe map below you will see that Iceland will currently not allow unvaccinated people in without a quarantine. However, on the Icelandic government website it clearly states that people on a mixed vaccine regime are considered fully vaccinated. So having a mixed-vaccine regimen here is not an issue.

The conclusion here is that you need to research restrictions before you travel. We can help. We have been at this for almost two years and we have the expertise. Contact us to find out how your vaccine regimen affects your travels.


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