Austria’s Green Pass: What counts as proof of 2G?

When Austria tightened its rules for entry to many public venues, it also changed the rules for 2G validity. Here's a look at the proof you need to enter places like restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and events.

Covid pass being scanned
You can present your proof of 2G in paper or digital form, showing the QR code and full details. Photo: Claudio Schwarz/Unsplash

For vaccinated people

People who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 can show their yellow Impfpass (vaccination booklet), or data from their e-Impfpass, for example a printout of their vaccine certificate, the Grüner Pass app or an EU digital Covid pass from another EU country. 

For most people, proof of vaccination will be a valid ‘G’ for nine months, or 270 days to be precise, after the second dose, as of December 6th. After this, a third dose is required to be allowed entry to 2G venues. The vaccine pass will be valid for another 270 days (nine months) from the date of the third dose.

The exception is people who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. From January 3rd, 2022, a second dose of this vaccine will be required.

Only vaccines which have received EMA approval (that’s Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson) are accepted as valid proof.

What if I was vaccinated outside the EU, or with a vaccine not approved by the EMA?

In the wording of the regulation, it doesn’t state whether non-EU vaccine certificates are accepted, however The Local’s readers have reported being allowed entry to 3G venues using an NHS Covid certificate from the UK, for example. If you experience difficulties with a foreign vaccine pass or have questions, you can contact our editorial team by emailing [email protected] and we will do our best to help.

For people who were vaccinated with a jab that isn’t approved by the EMA, such as Sputnik V or Sinopharm, the advice of Austria’s National Vaccine Committee is to take a test to prove Covid antibodies and get a dose of an EMA-approved mRNA vaccine (that’s Pfizer or Moderna) at least one month after your first dose. These two proofs together should be accepted as 2G, even though neither antibody proof nor a single dose of an mRNA vaccine are accepted as 2G outside this scenario.

For recovered people

People who have caught and recovered from Covid-19 can show either a ‘recovery certificate’ or a doctor’s proof of infection together with a PCR test result. These are valid for 180 days after the infection.

Proof of Covid-19 antibodies is not accepted as proof.

For children

In principle, the new 2G rule applies from the age of 12 upwards, but there is an exception for children up until the end of their ninth year of school (aged 12-15). Children in this group can show a negative PCR test, for example using the Ninja Pass based on school tests, to enter 2G venues.

Vienna, however, is likely to require 2G from the age of 12 when it updates its own regulation later this week.

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Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria's autumn Covid-19 plan includes a fourth Covid-19 dose to all those older than 12 and the Health Ministry doesn't rule out further measures, especially a return of the mask mandate.

Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria’s Health Ministry and the country’s National Immunisation Panel (NIG) have recommended a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to the general population ahead of autumn.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) and physician Herwig Kollaritsch of the Immunisation Panel have requested people take the vaccination before the cold months, reiterating that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and protects against more severe courses of the disease.

“You can do a lot before autumn. Don’t wait until the numbers rise. Get vaccinated, take the booster shots”, Kollaritsch said in a press conference this Wednesday, August 31st.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

The previous recommendation was only for people older than 60 or those in risk groups. “After there was already the booster recommendation for the vulnerable and over 60-year-olds over the summer, all other groups are to get a booster in the coming weeks,” the health minister said.

Only 58.9 percent of the population is currently sufficiently vaccinated, as per the recommendation of the National Immunisation Panel (NIG) – which for the majority of the population is three doses – or if they’ve had Covid then two doses and a recent recovered status.

New measures ahead of autumn

The health minister stopped short of announcing new Covid-19 measures for autumn.

When he announced the end of the mask mandate in the country back in May, Rauch had said the suspension would be “temporary” and masks were likely to return after summer, depending on the pandemic, particularly on hospitalisation numbers.

Currently, masks are obligatory in the health sector and on public transport in Vienna.

“We evaluate the situation weekly by talking with the hospital heads in the states. We have a very good view of the Covid-19 data, and we don’t rule out bringing measures back in the future”, he said.

READ ALSO: Vienna extends stricter Covid-19 rules until late October

He added: “It is likely that in the autumn, compulsory masks will again be useful and necessary in certain areas such as public transport or supermarkets,”.

For now, though, the minister said he recommends people to get vaccinated, wear masks where social distancing is not possible, and get tested regularly – even if those measures are not mandatory.

When should you get vaccinated?

The fourth vaccination should come a minimum of four months after the third one (or after a Covid-19 infection) but not after six months of the third dose (regardless of whether or not the person has had an infection after the last vaccine), according to the NIG.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Which Austrian states will allow Covid-infected teachers in classrooms?

For children between five and eleven years of age, the basic immunisation – which consists of three vaccinations – should be completed by the start of school at the latest; no booster vaccination is currently recommended in this age group.

Austria expects vaccines adapted to the omicron variant to arrive in the country before the end of September, the health minister said.