Do You Need a Covid-19 Vaccine Booster to Travel?

Two Covid-19 shots aren’t enough for some travelers anymore. Destinations are now increasingly requiring boosters for easy entry.

Spain, the Netherlands and Singapore are among several places that have mandated or will soon mandate that US travelers who had their last vaccine dose 270 days or more ago show proof of a booster shot or face additional testing requirements.

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As of Monday, 88 million Americans had received a booster, or 41.5% of the country’s fully vaccinated population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Boosters are the latest X-factor for travelers, who have had to negotiate flight delays, closed borders and other issues in the past two years as the world adjusted to a deadly virus. Whether it is getting on an airplane or trying to get into venues such as restaurants and museums, those traveling should expect the rules of entrance to continue to move for the foreseeable future, says Myron S. Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We’re building an airplane while we’re flying,” Dr. Cohen says. “Different countries are going to do different things. If I felt I had to travel, I would do my very best to have as many doses of the vaccine as was permissible.”

Amid a surge in cases, some countries are handing out second booster shots. In Israel, early data suggest a fourth vaccine dose can increase antibodies against Covid-19, but not enough to prevent infections from Omicron. WSJ explains. Photo composite: Eve Hartley/WSJ

On boosters, travelers should expect increased requirements to be the norm in 2022, says Marc Casto, a president of travel agency Flight Center Travel Group.

“Those that do not will likely be subject to quarantine along with more rigid and frequent testing,” he says. He says his clients in the Americas have been more likely to book trips to destinations where a higher percentage of the population is vaccinated and boosted.

The American Society of Travel Advisors is seeing people who would otherwise travel abroad modifying their plans in significant numbers and choosing to travel within the continental US instead because of impending booster requirements, Chief Executive Zane Kerby says.

“Requiring boosters adds to the hassle factor, and people are just tired of the paperwork. They’re tired of the waiting. They’re tired of not knowing if they’re actually going to go on the trip until 12 to 24 hours before the trip happens,” Mr. Kerby says.

For those still looking to travel, here are some popular destinations with booster requirements:

the Netherlands

  • Starting Feb. 1, the Netherlands will require people entering from “very high risk” countries to go into quarantine for 10 days if they have not received their booster shot within the past 270 days.
  • Travelers who have received their booster at least one week ago are exempt from this mandatory quarantine period starting Feb. 2, according to Ministry of Health press officer Thomas Breedveld.
  • Visitors traveling to the country from outside the EU must also show up with a negative Covid-19 test whether they are boosted or not.

Spain

  • US travelers will need to show proof of a booster for entry as of Feb. 1 if it has been 270 days or more since their last shot.
  • Those who don’t meet the requirements won’t be able to enter the country for nonessential purposes, according to the country’s tourism website.

France

  • While France doesn’t require proof of vaccination to enter the country, travelers 18 and older must show proof of a booster via a valid vaccine pass if more than seven months have passed since their last dose for entry into venues such as museums, theaters and cafes, per the country’s tourism page.

Austria

  • Travelers who have received a booster can currently enter Austria without any additional entry requirements.

Israel

  • Travelers must have received their final vaccine dose within 180 days, according to the country’s tourism page. If six months have passed since their most recent dose, they need a booster shot at least 14 days before entry.
  • Visitors must also take a PCR test 72 hours before their flight, or a rapid test within 24 hours before the flight.

Singapore

  • Starting Feb. 14, Singapore will only consider people 18 and older fully vaccinated if they received their final vaccine dose in the past 270 days, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.
  • The rule will apply to visitors 12 and older beginning March 14.

Vietnam

  • To enter the country, visitors must present proof of full vaccination, with the last dose at least 14 days and not more than one year before date of entry, according to Vietnam’s tourism page.
  • Travelers also need to show a negative test taken within 72 hours of boarding.

Hawaii

  • The county of Maui recently changed its definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster shot, according to a press release. The rules apply to anyone who wants to dine indoors or exercise inside a gym.
  • Hawaii hasn’t come to a conclusion yet on statewide rules.
Cruise Lines

Several cruise lines will also soon require guests to show proof of a booster shot to board.

  • Viking will require guests to show proof of a booster dose (if eligible) starting on Feb. 1.
  • The new Lindblad Expeditions booster policy takes effect for trips beginning March 1. All guests 12 and over who completed their primary vaccination series more than five months ago are required to present proof of booster before embarking, the company said in a written statement.
  • Starting March 1, Azamara cruises will require guests to be fully vaccinated and boosted, for those who are eligible, at least 14 days before voyage, the company said in a written statement.
  • Carnival and Royal Caribbean recommend passengers receive booster shots, but don’t currently require them.

write to Rachel Wolfe at rachel.wolfe@wsj.com

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