<p>Covid-19 vaccines</p>

Covid-19 vaccines

Foreign jabs deemed good enough for travel – but only from December

‘Huge help for British nationals vaccinated abroad who want to come back and visit friends and family’

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 19 November 2021 16:26

For months the UK has maintained that only British vaccines can provide adequate protection against Covid-19, by only requiring foreign visitors to self-isolate when a passenger on their plane tests positive.

While those jabbed by the NHS need not quarantine in the event of being “pinged” after a flight to the UK, anyone vaccinated abroad must self-isolate for 10 days – causing misery for families and deterring some from visiting the UK in case it happens.

The NHS Test and Trace service tells travellers: “The reasoning behind this is that elsewhere the same vaccine may be stored or administered to different standards or protocols.”

The policy has been widely described as “discriminatory”.

Now the health secretary, Sajid Javid, has revealed in a tweet that this discrepancy will change in December - at least for arrivals to England.

From 1 December, travellers who have been jabbed with a vaccine given “emergency use listing” (EUL) by the World Health Organisation (WHO) - which covers all the leading vaccines - will no longer be required to self-isolate if a fellow passenger tests positive.

Mr Javid tweeted: “FANTASTIC NEWS. From December anyone fully vaccinated with a WHO EUL vaccine will not need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact while in England.

“Huge help for British nationals vaccinated abroad who want to come back and visit friends and family in England.”

The Department of Health said the change would not take immediate effect to allow time for the legislation to be changed – and to “update operational systems so that those contacts who are vaccinated overseas receive the right advice”.

The senior Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who is also a member of the Transport Select Committee, said: “This is long overdue but welcome nevertheless. It has seriously depressed inward tourism to the UK, meaning we have lost huge amounts of revenue to other countries.

“Why would anyone vaccinated abroad risk coming here if they could be forced to quarantine for 10 days?”

He demanded that the government address the inability of children under 16 to access their vaccine records, and remove the need for vaccinated travellers to pay for “unnecessary” tests.

Mr Bradshaw said: “Taken together, the UK government’s continuing restrictions and policy anomalies have held back recovery in the travel sector in Britain while the rest of Europe has been roaring ahead.”

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