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UK has no plans for ‘vaccine passports’

UK has no plans for ‘vaccine passports’
Image source: Getty Images

The UK government will be not issuing ‘vaccine passports’ that would allow people who have received their Covid-19 jab to travel abroad, vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said. However, people will be able to ask their GP for proof that they’ve had the vaccine should they need it for international travel.

Here are more details on this.

What is a vaccine passport?

A vaccine passport would confirm that you’ve received your Covid-19 jab. It would allow you to travel abroad and avoid any quarantine requirements in the country you are going to.

Some airlines and countries have stated that vaccine passports are key to re-opening international travel.

The prime minister of Greece has said that the country would welcome British holidaymakers if they can provide proof that they’ve received a Covid-19 jab.

Why is the government not issuing vaccine passports?

Mr Zahawi said that little is still known about the impact of vaccines on transmission.

Secondly, the jab is currently not mandatory in the UK and issuing vaccine passports would be ‘discriminatory’.

According to Mr Zahawi, people should come forward to get the jab “because they want to rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport”.

What does this mean for people planning to travel?

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 outbreak has thrown most people’s travel plans into disarray.

If you are like me, you might have been hoping that after the Covid-19 vaccine rollout began, it would only be a matter of time before we could again travel freely again.

But if the latest announcement by the government is anything to go by, we’ll have to shelve those travel plans for the foreseeable future.

That’s not to say things might not change with time.

If it can be shown that the vaccine slows down transmission, we can expect increased calls for those who’ve received the jab to be given permission to travel. But we’ll have to wait and see.

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What do Brits think about vaccine passports?

According to a recent study by Piplsay, close to three-quarters of Britons support the idea of vaccine passports.

Of those surveyed, 73% said that vaccine passports would be a useful tool to keep a check on the virus, and 63% said that the passports would make their visits or travel less stressful.

However, 59% said that they had reservations about the idea of vaccine passports. One primary reason cited was that the vaccine is not currently available for everyone.

Are any other countries issuing vaccine passports?

Denmark is developing a digital passport that will show whether people have been vaccinated. The passport, which could be ready in three to four months, would allow people to travel freely.

Sweden is also planning to launch a digital vaccine passport by the summer.

Meanwhile, in Estonia, travellers with proof of a Covid-19 inoculation can avoid quarantine.

The European Commission is also working with member states on vaccination certificates which could allow international travel to resume.

What else do I need to know?

In the UK, there is currently a ban on all non-essential local and international travel.

If you have a legally permitted reason to travel, it’s a good idea to first check the government’s current foreign travel advice before your journey.

It’s also wise to find out about any entry restrictions and screening or quarantine requirements that might affect you on arrival at your destination. 

In addition, consider getting travel insurance. It could cover you should anything impact your ability to travel before or during your trip.

For more useful information related to travel, head over to our travel money section, where you’ll find insightful articles on topics such as how to get a refund on cancelled holiday bookings.

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