You’ve had your Covid-19 vaccine, now what?
With almost 90% of the UK adult population having now received their first dose vaccinations and more than 65% on their second, there are many questions regarding travel restrictions and testing requirements and how vaccination status affects these. As we all know, each country has their own rules when it comes to travel. Recently, some countries have relaxed entry requirements for vaccinated travellers from the UK, and the NHS app, which you can use to provide proof of your COVID-19 status, is now accepted in many places.
Which country are you travelling to?
As mentioned, different countries have various rules. For example, Malta currently requires UK visitors to be fully vaccinated before they can enter - accepting the NHS COVID Pass (both the digital app and letter versions) as proof of your vaccination status. Portugal and Italy, on the other hand, do not currently permit entry based on vaccination status. Therefore, you must provide evidence of a negative test regardless of being fully vaccinated or not. The takeaway from this is that there is no common requirement across destinations, so please check and double-check what you need before booking and travelling.
What about returning to England?
The UK government has announced (8th July) that as of 19th July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England. This means that the testing regime for Green and Amber countries becomes the same for these individuals, as long as they have received their second jab at least 14 days prior. Therefore, for Amber list arrivals, a Day 8 test is no longer required, only a pre-departure test (within 72 hours before departure) and a PCR test on or before Day 2, with no requirement to self-isolate for 10 days after arrival. At the same time, the recommendation for people not to travel to Amber list countries will no longer apply.
Which vaccine were you given?
The UK currently has four vaccines approved for use: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen. Recently, there were concerns about whether five million UK residents vaccinated with AstraZeneca doses manufactured in India (which the EU refers to as Covidshield) will be refused entry or asked to take tests as the European Medicines Agency has yet to authorise the vaccine. However, Spain accepts all vaccines administered in the UK, including the AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in India.
There are other stipulations; for example, in France, if you’ve had the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine, you must wait four weeks before travelling to the country.
Do you need both jabs to travel?
Again, this depends on the destination, but the NHS defines a person as fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their final dose. For many countries, you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated. The NHS COVID Pass will be required as proof and will demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status going forward. Click here for more information on what you need and how to get your NHS COVID Pass.
What are the rules for children?
With the summer break upon us, many families will be looking to go on their holidays at long last. Whilst most parents are now fully vaccinated, under 18-year olds are not. The UK government has now confirmed that as of 19th July, children under 18 will not have to isolate when returning to England. They also state that children aged 4 and under will continue to be exempt from any travel testing. Children aged 5 to 10 will only need to do a Day 2 PCR test, and 11 to 18-year-olds will need to take both a pre-departure test and a Day 2 PCR test – as is the case for arrivals from green list countries.
However, the rules for entering other countries will vary. For example, in Malta, children under 12 will be permitted to enter if they’re holidaying with parents who have been double jabbed. Portugal and Spain have similar rules, with children over 12 having to prove a negative Covid-19 test to travel to or through the country. On the other hand, Italy states that children under the age of 6 do not need to test or self-isolate.
It is essential to be aware that no vaccine offers 100% protection against illness. If you are fully vaccinated, you are highly unlikely to develop severe illness from COVID-19; however, it is still important to remember that they do not entirely cut transmission of the virus - you can still contract and pass on the virus. Furthermore, scientists and health experts are still unsure truly how long immunity lasts. Therefore it is still essential to wear masks in confined and enclosed spaces (or where you are required to), maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently and follow public health advice guidance.
All things considered, please remember that rules and requirements can easily change, so please make sure you check the relevant government advice for your destination before you book and travel! Whatever tests you need to meet requirements, Qured can help. All the tests you need are in one place, from Fit to Fly to pre-departure and post-arrival tests.
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