UPDATED: What Austria’s ‘vaccine expiry date’ means for travellers

Vaccines will now be deemed effective in Austria only for one year after the final jab. Previously they 'expired' after 270 days.

UPDATED: What Austria’s ‘vaccine expiry date’ means for travellers

One aspect of the science which is as yet unclear about Covid vaccines is how long the immunity lasts. 

While each of the vaccines that is being administered in Austria has been shown to be highly effective against both the original incarnation of the virus and subsequent mutations, experts are uncertain as to the duration of immunity – primarily because not enough time has passed to see just how long the antibodies last. 

UPDATED: What are the rules for entering Austria right now?

Austria has taken a relatively novel approach with regard to immunity from both vaccines and recovery. 

Initially, visitors to the Alpine state were deemed to have protection for 270 days after the second shot – or for 270 days after your only shot in the case of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

The same went for people who live in Austria and using the 3G system to access pubs, bars, events, hairdressers and everywhere else Austria’s green pass is required.

The duration of the vaccine  will now be set to 365 days in Austria, which is more in line with other countries, 

Immunity: How long are vaccinations valid for in Austria?

What does this mean for travellers? 

If you were one of the first to get vaccinated, your vaccination will no longer expire in 2021, according to the Austrian authorities. 

However, if you were fully vaccinated in January, your immunity might be deemed to expire in January 2023.


While Austria is in the process of administering booster shots in some states, these so far are targeted primarily at people in certain categories. For example, from mid-September, all people aged 65 and over, risk and high-risk patients as well as those who have received AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson as a primary vaccination, will be able to receive a booster jab in Lower Austria

UPDATE: Austria to roll out Covid booster shots in autumn

The Austrian government has not indicated whether it will extend booster shots to all the general population – around 60 percent of which is fully vaccinated (5.2 million).

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Why are flights to and from Austria so expensive this summer?

Airline activity to and from Austria has almost fully recovered after Covid lockdowns and travel bans during the pandemic, but prices are soaring.

Why are flights to and from Austria so expensive this summer?

If you’ve been searching for flights to or from Austria during the summer, you may have noticed that prices are higher compared to previous years and even pre-pandemic times.

This trend of soaring prices is not limited to Austria alone; it is happening across Europe.

Ryanair Austria head Andreas Gruber added that the days of flying almost for free are over: “There will be no more 10-euro tickets”, he said in September 2022. Unfortunately, airfare inflation has continued to rise.

In March 2023, plane tickets were, on average, 20.1 percent more expensive than the same month in 2022. International flights saw a price increase of 19.8 percent in April 2023 compared to the previous year, while domestic flights cost 15.5 percent more during the same 12-month period.

READ ALSO: Ryanair to raise flight ticket prices in Austria

Rush to travel

Several factors contribute to these price hikes. The unexpected rush to travel after the pandemic caught the industry off guard and led to chaos at some European airports last summer due to staffing shortages.

Despite the return of passengers, business travellers have not returned in the same numbers as before, partly due to the newfound convenience of virtual meetings. In addition, the slow recovery has impacted the profitability of specific flights, prompting some airlines to discontinue routes altogether.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Fuel costs, which account for approximately one-third of ticket prices, are often cited as a reason for the price increase, even though the price of oil per barrel is falling. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) attributes the price hikes to the rising cost of kerosene, explaining that “high fuel prices, as well as other inflationary cost increases, can impact ticket prices if airlines are unable to absorb or avoid these costs.”

Austria’s Statistik Austria said high inflation in April (9.7 percent) was partly due to the “revived desire to travel (accompanied by rising prices for flights, accommodations and restaurants in Austria and in the most popular holiday countries”.

“The prices for package tours abroad, which are in high demand, have increased significantly compared to the previous year and are becoming an important driver of inflation for the first time in a long time”, said Statistics Austria director general Tobias Thomas.

READ ALSO: What is driving rising inflation in Austria and will the government act?

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, noted that while fuel prices have risen by 71 percent, the average rate of the low-cost airline has increased by 31 percent, equivalent to €14. He justified the increase, stating that it remains affordable for many customers.

Furthermore, the ban on overflying Russia has increased travel time by one to two hours for certain Asian destinations, adding to the costs of long-haul flights, according to airlines.

How can I avoid spending too much money on summer travelling?

Although flights may not be as cheap as before, there are still strategies to keep costs down:

– Booking flights well in advance tends to result in cheaper tickets, as prices increase closer to the flight date. Therefore, if you still need to book your flight, now is the time to do so.

– Avoiding the peak holiday season in July and August can help save money. Instead, consider taking an early summer vacation in June or a later one in late August or early September.

– Check websites like Skyscanner and Google Flights for the cheapest airline options. These platforms can also find cheaper tickets if you’re open to making stopovers instead of flying direct.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Austria this summer

– Be flexible with your travel dates. For example, look for midweek departures or consider departing from secondary airports, which may offer lower prices compared to major airports.

– If you’re travelling within Europe, consider rail travel as an alternative to flying. The Austrian train system, operated mainly by state-owned company ÖBB, is known for its efficiency and relatively affordable prices and is highly regarded in many countries.

READ ALSO: How does Austria’s Klimaticket for national public transport work?

By employing these strategies, you can still find ways to manage costs and make your travel plans more affordable despite the current trend of rising airfare prices.