Half-term holiday warning as unvaccinated children remain barred from Spain

From February, many adults will need a booster to visit, too

Lucy Thackray
Wednesday 26 January 2022 15:46 GMT
<p>The future is uncertain for family holidays to Spain</p>

The future is uncertain for family holidays to Spain

Spain still has its strict vaccination rules in place for travel, meaning those aged 12 and over must have had two doses or more of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to visit the country from the UK.

This is likely to hit half-term holidays hard, as families whose teenage children have not yet had the jab are forced to cancel or delay plans. (Children under 12 are currently exempt from vaccine rules.)

While around three quarters (79 per cent) of adults in the UK have now had three doses of a vaccine, the rollout is only just starting to reach 12 to 15-year-olds.

Only 300,000 - around 12 per cent - of 12 to 15-year-olds in the UK have had two doses of a vaccine.

Spain is the most popular holiday destination for UK travellers, typically attracting more than 18 million visitors each year; a few weeks ago it topped Abta’s list of countries Britons are planning to visit this year.

To complicate things further, from next month, many double-vaccinated visitors will need to have a booster jab in order to holiday there.

Spain has announced that, from 1 February, it will only admit travellers who had their most recent dose (the second or third jab) within the previous 270 days - around nine months.

This means that Brits who had their second jab on 6 May 2021 will see their vaccination status expire on 1 February, making them no longer “fully vaccinated” in Spain - they will need to have a booster jab before being allowed to enter.

“From 1 February 2022, in order to travel to Spain with a vaccination certificate, the certificate must have been issued by the competent authorities of the country of origin at least 14 days after the date of administration of the last dose of the full course of vaccination, as long as the final dose of that course of vaccination was no more than 270 days ago,” reads a statement on the country’s SafeSpain travel website.

The move is in line with much of the EU, whose member states voted to implement an immunity expiry date from spring 2022.

France and Italy will do the same from February, while Switzerland brought in the measure on 22 January.

Spain does not accept proof of recovery certificates as an alternative to vaccine passports.

The country’s health ministry this month confirmed that Omicron is now the dominant strain in the country.

According to El Pais, the highly transmissible variant represented between 79 and 98 per cent of all coronavirus infections for the week ending on 16 January.

Speaking after the cabinet’s meeting on Monday, government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez said that the current wave of infections is “at a moment of flattening” and asked citizens to “keep taking care of themselves so we may look at the virus in a different light in the coming months.”

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