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Are you classed as fully vaccinated in the UK after having Covid and one jab in Germany?

The UK's rules for what counts as full vaccination holds different definitions to Germany. So what does it mean if you've had Covid and one jab?

Are you classed as fully vaccinated in the UK after having Covid and one jab in Germany?
Passengers at Munich airport this summer. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

What’s this about?

The British government eased rules for many fully vaccinated travellers coming from the EU at the start of August. 

But UK travel rules during recent months have been tricky to understand, not least because there are different definitions of “fully vaccinated” compared to the EU. 

The British government’s strict definition of “fully vaccinated” is that it means having two injections of a double-dose vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, or one injection of the single-dose Johnson&Johnson – while Germany and the EU also consider those who have recovered from the virus and who have had a single dose of any vaccine to be fully protected.

The same applies to people who had different vaccines for the two doses – known as Kreuzimpfung in Germany. This is considered normal, but the UK government insists that you are not ‘fully vaccinated’ unless both your doses were of the same brand.

READ ALSO:

People who fall into these categories are able to get the EU Covid pass in Germany.

In Germany, people who have one jab after a recent Covid infection are viewed as having the same level of immunity as someone who’s had two doses. 

The pass will say “vaccination 1 of 1” to show that it’s a considered a full course. The certificate also shows the date of vaccination, your name and date of birth. 

Germany is not the only country with this policy. France and other countries in Europe also consider someone to be fully vaccinated if they have had one jab after recovering from Covid.

Okay so do I have to quarantine?

These rules have led to some confusion over whether those in Germany who have been ill with coronavirus, recovered and had a booster injection can travel to the UK without having to quarantine for 10 days – and pay for two tests on day two and day eight. 

READ ALSO How to book that ‘Day Two’ Covid-19 test if you’re travelling from Germany to the UK

But there’s good news – if you fall into this category you currently do not have to quarantine because Germany is on the UK’s green list. 

That means that unvaccinated people can also avoid quarantine. While Germany is a green country, anyone travelling to the UK – regardless of vaccination status – only has to pay for the day two test. 

You should keep in mind that the UK will classify you as unvaccinated if you’ve had one shot after Covid, but it won’t be a huge problem. Likewise, you’ll also be classed as unvaccinated if you’ve had two shots from two different vaccines (so you’re kreuzgeimpft). 

READ ALSO: Germany added to the UK’s green list – what does it mean?

What if it changes?

It will be a major concern to many people if Germany is bumped up to the UK’s amber list again. As infections are rising in Germany, it’s not unlikely that this will happen in future. 

If Germany’s status changes to amber, vaccinated people will be able to skip the 10 day quarantine and two tests when arriving in the UK (but they will still need a day two test). Unvaccinated people (including the two categories we mention above) will not. 

What happens if I transit through an amber list country from Germany?

It’s important to note that if you travel through an amber list country – like France – to get to the UK, the amber list country rules will apply. 

The Local Germany reader Petrina got in touch with us to say she was worried about her travel plans because her husband had Covid last year and received a booster jab – and they were planning to travel from Germany through France. 

“We did not envisage that my husband would have to go into quarantine and that we would have to book the day two and eight day tests, having only booked the day two tests,” she said. “We will have to cancel many plans, and even think about cancelling as being in quarantine on holiday is no real holiday.”

The UK government says people “need to show an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC), showing you’ve had a full course of an EMA or Swissmedic-approved vaccine”.

The below extract is also from the UK Government:

What have amber-list country embassies said?

Foreign embassies from current amber list countries have been flagging up this issue.

The British Embassy in Paris said in a recent post: “Natural immunity (i.e. having had Covid) plus one dose of vaccine under an approved European vaccination programme is not considered a full course, even if you are listed as fully vaccinated on your EU Digital COVID Certificate.

“You must have had both doses of an approved two-dose European vaccination programme (eg Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna) or the single dose of an approved single-dose European vaccination programme (eg Janssen).

“If you have only had one dose of a two-dose vaccine you will need to follow the rules for non-vaccinated arrivals, which includes tests before departure and on days 2 and 8, and 10 days’ quarantine.”

A message on the Facebook page of the British embassy in Spain says: “Please be aware that the UK does not recognise natural immunity for international travel at this time, but this will be kept under review. We know that the EU DCC does enable people to prove natural immunity.

“This is not currently accepted in the UK and quarantine and day 8 testing requirements will only be eased, for those who have been fully vaccinated in a relevant European country, with an EMA-approved vaccine,” it says.

The Local asked the UK government whether there is a chance this position will change. A spokeswoman confirmed the current rules but did not comment on whether they will change in future. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany’s cheap travel deal

Germany's €9 monthly transport ticket is coming. Here's everything you should know about the deal that will allow you to to travel the country for next to nothing this summer.

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany's cheap travel deal

What’s all this about cheap transport?

Germany is about to launch a mega cheap transport ticket – and a lot of people are getting very excited about it.

The “€9 for 90” ticket is a monthly travel card that people can buy for just €9 per month over a three-month period. It’s a fraction of the price of a normal monthly travel card and – even more incredibly – can be used anywhere in the country on local and regional transport. 

The deal was initially announced back in April as part of an energy relief package put together by the government. And despite some anger from state leaders over funding for the scheme, the ticket cleared its final hurdle in the Bundesrat on Friday.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

So far, the €9 ticket has received a lot of publicity and attention. That’s probably because it’s one of the more fun measures to combat the energy crisis – one that doesn’t involve complicated claims and write-offs in your tax return.

Instead, the government is hoping that the new ticket will cut monthly transport costs for households and encourage people to use more eco-friendly transport options. With fuel prices spiralling, it’s a great time to leave the car at home and travel around for next to nothing, while doing your bit for the environment. 

Sounds great. Can everyone buy it?

Yes! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tourist on a weekend trip from Austria, a part-time Germany resident or Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself: everyone will be able to purchase the €9 ticket. (We imagine Olaf may already have his own transport, though.) 

It will, however, have your name on it, so it can’t be pooled between friends (as tempting as an even cheaper travel deal would be). 

READ ALSO: What tourists in Germany need to know about the €9 public transport ticket

Busy train in Stuttgart

People board a busy train in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

When will it be available?

It’s currently available in a handful of cities, including Hamburg, Stuttgart and Freiburg – but everyone else will be able to purchase it from May 23rd onwards. 

The deal itself will be a summer travel offer. That means the first monthly ticket will be valid from June 1st and the last monthly ticket will expire on August 31st. Each of the tickets will be valid for the full calendar month so you won’t be able to mix and match with existing tickets.

For example, if you’ve already bought a ticket that’s expiring in mid-June, you wouldn’t then be able to buy a €9 ticket running from the middle of June to the middle of August.

Instead, you would require two €9 tickets  for June and July – though you can get a refund for the part of the prior ticket you didn’t end up using.

Where can I get hold of it?

The ticket will be available via Deutsche Bahn’s DB Navigator app, on the DB website, at in-station terminals and at ticket desks and offices.

Regional transport operators are likely to have their own ticket purchasing options as well – most likely online, but in some cases also at ticket machines and in-station offices. 

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest.

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

What types of public transport can I use it on?

The ticket is valid throughout Germany, but only on regional and local transport.

That means you can use it on all local trains like the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, as well as on trams and buses. You can also travel on the Regionalverkehr (regional trains) across Germany. 

You can’t use the ticket for private services like Flixbus and Flixtrain or on other long-distance rail services like IC, EC and ICE trains. If you’re travelling around your state and aren’t sure if the ticket will be valid, check if the train you’re taking has an ‘RE’ in the name. That’s the shorthand for regional trains.

It probably goes without saying, but taxi services won’t be included in the price. And, yes, you will still need to pay for those e-scooters as well. 

Can I use it to travel first class?

If you’re hoping for a month of budget transport but also want to be treated like royalty whilst on board, we may have to disappoint you. The €9 ticket can only be used in second-class carriages.

This is largely because there’s likely to be huge demand for the budget offer – so there could be scuffles for first-class seats with that extra bit of legroom. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

I’ve already got an Abo. What can I do?

This has been a big concern for the folk who have already opted to pay full price for their public transport. (What fools they were…) 

Luckily, this group of keen transport users won’t miss out either. According to the DB website, people who’ve already shelled out on a monthly or annual ticket will be contacted by their local transport provider and informed about how they can get a refund.

If you’ve got a standing order set up, the transport operator will likely just debit the €9 from your account instead of the usual amount. Otherwise, you may get sent a refund via direct debit. 

Your subscription ticket will be valid for local public transport throughout Germany during the three month offer period – not just in your area.

Will students also benefit from the ticket?

Absolutely – though this is one area where things may be a little less well-organised. If you’re a student with a semester ticket, you will be entitled to a refund of the extra amount you paid, which will likely be handled by your university. 

One thing that seems a little unclear is whether the semester ticket will suddenly be valid outside of your local region, just like the €9 ticket is. We assume it will, but we’ll try to clarify this with DB and other service providers in the coming weeks. 

Can I take my bike on board?

Unfortunately, bikes aren’t included in the offer – and this seems like a deliberate choice. 

DB is recommending that people leave their bikes at home during the three months that the €9 ticket is on offer. This is because trains are likely to be extremely busy and they can’t guarantee that they’ll have room for everyone, let alone a hundred or so bikes. Instead, you can usually hire a bike at your destination.

However, if you’ve already got a subscription that allows you to take your bike with you (i.e. a student semester ticket or another type of Abo), you’ll still be able to do so. 

What about my dog? 

You will unfortunately not be able to purchase a €9 ticket in the name of Rover T. Dog (well, you could try, but it probably won’t work). However, the usual rules will apply to travelling with a furry friend. 

In some places, you may need to buy an extra dog ticket for Rover, while in others, he’ll be able to accompany you free-of-charge. 

READ ALSO: Who benefits from Germany’s €9 public transport ticket offer?

A woman carries her dog through a Berlin train station

A woman carries her onesie-clad dog in a Berlin train station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Do children need to pay for a ticket? 

Children under six can travel for free on public transport, while children over the age of six will need their own €9 ticket. 

What about seat reservations? 

Transport operators are trying to keep things as flexible as possible to cope with demand over summer, so you unfortunately won’t be able to use the ticket to reserve a seat in advance.

Won’t public transport be rammed? 

At the moment, nobody really knows. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), there could be as many as 30 million public transport users per month over summer – but this is only a rough estimate.

READ ALSO: How many people will use the €9 ticket?

One way around this is to try and travel on weekdays and off-peak services where possible and (as mentioned) to hire bikes rather than bringing them in the train.

It could also be helpful to familiarise yourself with different transport connections and routes in your area. 

The other thing that could help ease the crush on public transport is the fact that the government is also planning to cut taxes on fuel in tandem with the €9 ticket. That means that, for three months over summer, drivers will be able to get cheaper petrol and diesel – so some may indeed decide to take the car after all.

The ticket ends at the end of August. What happens next? 

Once again, it’s hard to say. Critics of the €9 ticket say that the scheme will leave gaping holes in transport budgets and could ultimately lead to ticket prices going up in autumn.

On the other hand, proponents of the offer believe that it could have the effect of luring people back to public transport after the Covid crisis. That would mean that more people would be buying subscriptions after summer and using local buses and trains, which can only be a good thing for transport budgets in the long-run. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 transport ticket

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