‘Vaccine passports’: minister promises certificates for overseas travellers

Nadhim Zahawi had previously said travellers should ask their GPs for proof

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 16 February 2021 08:25 GMT
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Vauxhall Astra: a phial of coronavirus vaccine at a centre in London SE11
Vauxhall Astra: a phial of coronavirus vaccine at a centre in London SE11

Holidaymakers who have been vaccinated against coronavirus can expect to be provided with a government-backed certificate, the vaccines minister has said.

Nadhim Zahawi had previously ruled out a “vaccine passport”, conferring advantages on travellers who had received both jabs.

He had said instead prospective that travellers should contact their GPs for suitable evidence of vaccinations.

But speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Zahawi said: “If other countries will require a vaccine certificate then I think it’s right that we facilitate it.

“People already when they travel they have to have, for certain countries, a yellow fever certificate.

“I think it’s right that we do that. That’s what we’re working on.

“So if there is a requirement, any viewer can then ask for their vaccine certificate, in the way that we do pre-departure test certificates now.”

The last remark appears baffling, since the government does not issue “pre-departure test certificates”. Instead, the NHS stresses that its testing service cannot be used for the purposes of travel.

All travellers seeking proof required by their destination country must organise a private test, typically costing around £150.

Countries including Estonia, Georgia and Romania have already relaxed travel restrictions for visitors who can prove they have been vaccinated against coronavirus.

Greece and Israel have established a restriction-free “travel corridor”, and have raised the prospect similar arrangements other nations where a large proportion of the adult population have been vaccinated.

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