Already this summer, 27 EU countries will unconditionally open their borders to tourists who have received doses of drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency EMA. This forecast was made by the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in an interview with The New York Times.
What vaccines will give the "green" light for travel to the EU in the summer of 2021, will Ukrainians have a chance for a vacation in Europe, we will try to understand.
Opening of EU borders
The President of the European Commission spoke primarily about the Americans because the United States has certified similar drugs. Note that the EU has been closed for tourists from the United States for more than a year.
"Americans, as far as I understand, are using vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) ... This will enable free movement and travel in the European Union," Ursula von der Leyen said.
To enter, you will need so-called vaccination passports, or Covid certificates (in the EU, they are planned to be launched on June 15). The politician also reported on negotiations with the US government on a mechanism for the mutual recognition of her certificates.
Another possible innovation: airlines can check Covid certificates in the EU before allowing passengers on board. This was stated by EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.
French President Emmanuel Macron also announced his intention to open borders for vaccinated tourists. First of all, he talked about the Americans and the British.
The UK, which has withdrawn from the EU, is introducing a new system of regulating flights around the world on 17 May. Which countries will receive the green light remains to be decided.
But each country has different restrictions. The southern EU countries, which are dependent on tourism, are pushing for a tool to help keep hotels and restaurants from going bankrupt. For example, Greece has already announced that Americans will be able to enter if they test negative for Covid-19.
Cyprus (located in the EU) from May 10 will open its borders to travelers from 65 countries, including Ukrainians, according to the country's Ministry of Tourism. Cyprus has additionally introduced the option of accepting "vaccination certificates" with drugs approved by the EMA and confirming vaccination with Russian Sputnik. Vaccinated tourists are not required to take tests or self-isolate.
Entry rules for unvaccinated tourists depend on which zone the country of departure belongs to. Ukraine is in the "red" zone, which means that you need to register on the CyprusFlightPass platform, get a negative PCR test result no later than 72 hours before departure, upon arrival in Cyprus, undergo a second test at the airport, waiting for the result for 3 hours in self-isolation.
Croatia (also in the EU), at its discretion, allowed entry to Ukrainian tourists. According to the rules, which are valid until April 30, Ukrainians need to provide one of the following documents:
- negative PCR test done no later than 48 hours before crossing the Croatian border;
- negative result of a rapid test for the SARS-CoV-2 antigen made no later than 48 hours before the moment of crossing the Croatian border. If you stay in Croatia for more than 10 days, the test must be repeated in Croatia before the 10th day from the date of issue of the preliminary test;
- confirmation of vaccination against Covid-19. The second vaccination must be given no later than 14 days from the date of entry into Croatia. If the vaccine provides one dose, then vaccination must be carried out no later than 14 days from the date of entry;
- a document confirming that the person has had coronavirus disease within the last 180 days;
- Entry into Croatia can be allowed on condition of staying in self-isolation for 10 days or passing tests in Croatia at their own expense and, if the result is negative, exit from self-isolation.
In addition, it is necessary to take into account the conditions for countries with a "British" mutation: present a negative PCR test result (48 hours), undergo 14-day isolation (can be reduced to 7 days if an additional PCR test is passed in Croatia).
Bulgaria also allows entry to Ukrainian tourists. You need a certificate showing a negative test result for Covid-19 by PCR (72 hours before crossing the border). From May 1, foreigners will be able to enter the country, provided they have a vaccination certificate, negative PCR or antigen test, or a document confirming their coronavirus disease no more than 6 months before the date of entry.
What vaccines are approved by the EU and what is available in Ukraine
At this point, EMA has registered the drugs Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca.
The list may expand. So, the EMA began considering the Novavax vaccine on February 3, 2021, the German CureVac on February 12, 2021, and the Sputnik V vaccine on March 4, 2021. The review will continue until sufficient evidence is obtained to initiate sales.
In Ukraine at this moment there are the following drugs:
CoviShield vaccine (analogue of AstraZeneca) produced by the Indian Institute of Blood Serum;
CoronaVac manufactured by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech;
Comirnaty from Pfizer-BioNTech;
AstraZeneca-SkBio, manufactured by South Korean SK Bioscience.
The first of this list, the CoviShield vaccine, an analogue of Oxford/AstraZeneca, is currently registered by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), but not by the European EMA. According to the British Embassy, the vaccine is produced at the facilities of AstraZeneca in India and is completely identical to the drug registered in the EU.
President Zelenskyy, Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov, chief sanitary doctor Viktor Lyashko, as well as many opinion leaders who, apparently, will have to wait with tourism in the EU, were vaccinated with this vaccine.
The EU-approved vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech was delivered to Ukraine in the amount of 117,000 doses, the drug provides for two vaccinations for the formation of antibodies.
In the future, Ukraine expects to receive the Novavax vaccine (a candidate for EMA approval) and more doses of Pfizer/BioNTech. The head of the Ministry of Health, Stepanov, previously stated that 1.7 million doses of Pfizer should arrive by the end of May, and according to the contract signed between Ukraine and Pfizer, 10 million doses will arrive by the end of 2021. However, it is difficult to predict anything in the face of disruption of delivery dates by pharmaceutical companies. According to the plans of the Ministry of Health, Novavax will begin delivering 2 million doses per month no later than July.