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Reader question: Which Covid vaccines will Italy accept for tourists this summer?

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Reader question: Which Covid vaccines will Italy accept for tourists this summer?
Visitors by the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

As Italy plans to welcome back tourists this summer, some worry their Covid-19 vaccination won't get them over the border.


QUESTION: Italy says it will allow people who have been vaccinated to visit – will I be able to enter with the Moderna vaccine?

Italy has promised to "welcome back the world" this summer, starting with people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Frustratingly for those trying to finalize plans, the Italian government has not yet set a firm date for when vaccinated tourists can travel freely without quarantine – though ministers have hinted that it will be mid-May for travellers from the European Union, the UK or Israel, and June for visitors from the United States and other non-EU countries.

READ ALSO: How the Italian government has left tourists angry and confused about summer plans

This is in line with EU leaders' promise to launch a travel pass valid across the entire bloc from next month, in the form of a digital certificate that shows you have either been fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative or have antibodies after recovering from Covid-19.


Italy's equivalent, the certificato verde or "green pass", is already valid for domestic travel when crossing in or out of regions that have been declared higher-risk orange or red zones (find a map of the zones currently in place here).

It's essentially just a certificate issued by your local health authority or testing centre, either on paper or in digital form, but the idea ultimately is to create a uniform, scannable version that will also be usable abroad.

Passes issued in Italy will naturally show vaccination with one of the vaccines that are currently in use here: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech (also called Comirnaty), AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).


A passenger with a negative test result prepares to board a "Covid-free" train from Milan to Rome. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

But what about people who have been vaccinated elsewhere?

“All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by the European Medicines Agency,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said back in April.


Italy confirmed in its last emergency decree that "certificates issued in a third country following a vaccination recognised in the European Union and validated by a Union member state" can be used for travel within Italy just the same as Italian certificates.

READ ALSO: ‘Our tickets are booked’: the Americans who can’t wait to return to Italy

The European Medicines Agency has so far cleared four vaccines, all of which are in use in Italy (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson).

It is currently reviewing four more: the Chinese vaccine Sinovac, German-made CureVac, American candidate Novavax, and Russia's Sputnik vaccine. These will be approved if they stand up to the regulator’s requirements, but at present they are not in use anywhere within the EU. (Sputnik is currently in use in San Marino, which despite lying within Italy's borders is neither part of Italy nor the EU.)

You can check which vaccines the EMA has authorised via its website

Whichever vaccine you get, for travel purposes you'll need to have received all the doses required for full protection – so two shots for Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca, and one for Johnson & Johnson.

The Italian government is expected to give further details about its plans to restart travel in the coming days.

Stay up to date with Italy's travel rules by following The Local's travel section and checking the Italian Health Ministry's website (in English).


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Anonymous2021/05/15 17:38
Delta and Alitalia have plans to return daily service and additional routes, starting the end of May. Light at the end of the tunnel, I think a semi summer is ahead!

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