The United Kingdom has added booster jabs to the NHS COVID-19 app to enable travel to various nations requiring proof of booster shots.
Various nations in Europe have introduced a time limit on the vaccine—such as Israel, Croatia, and Austria—in a bid to ensure maximum immunity within the nation. As Europe prepares for a suspected fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, more nations are adding the booster jab requirement to their entry requirements.
Some British travelers have called for the government to add booster jabs to the NHS app for weeks due to fears over travel restrictions in Europe. The Times reported that British travelers over 60 may face bans from visiting Europe unless the NHS app showed the COVID booster jab.
Austria—which has just plunged back into lockdown—currently has a 270-day limit on vaccine validity. France has also indicated it will require booster jabs for over 65s to access venues from December 15.
The Booster Jab
The U.K government won’t add third vaccine doses to its domestic pass as citizens don’t require booster jabs to qualify as fully vaccinated, however, booster jabs will appear on the Welsh COVID pass form.
Currently, the U.K has offered booster doses to over 50s, social care staff, and people with underlying health conditions in a bid to stop rising cases over the winter. As a result, the UK has already administered 13 million booster jabs.
British Health Secretary Sajid Javid stated, “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to show their vaccine status if they are traveling abroad.
“This update to the NHS Covid Pass will mean people can have their complete medical picture at their fingertips if they are going on holiday or seeing loved ones overseas.”
The Reaction From The Travel Industry
The travel industry is happy with the decision to add booster jabs to the NHS vaccine pass. Paul Charles, the CEO of The PC Agency, said the news was a “major step forward” because it will give travelers confidence to travel overseas this Christmas.
He said, “‘It gives a confidence boost to those who were putting off booking for the Christmas period and it now means they can travel with their vaccine status up to date.
“But it’s not the end of the story, we need to see the Government update the app urgently for those aged between 12 and 17”
“Those who are fully up to date with the available vaccines, and that includes teenagers who have had one vaccine because that’s all they’re allowed, should have the gift of being able to travel without worry.”
Rising Cases In Europe
COVID-19 cases are—within a highly vaccinated population—rising throughout the European continent. Austria initially planned to lockdown all unvaccinated citizens this week. However, the Austrian authorities decided to enforce a full lockdown in Austria today.
What’s more, the Czech Republic has banned unvaccinated people from entering bars, clubs, and restaurants. Germany has followed suit by banning unvaccinated people from public transport, with senior health officials stating, “We’ve never been as worried as we are right now.”
Greece has banned unvaccinated people from entering indoor spaces even if they test negative for COVID-19. In a televised address, the Greek Prime Minister said, “This is indeed a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
“Greece is mourning unnecessary losses because it simply does not have the vaccination rates of other European countries.”
As cases continue to rise within Europe, it’s likely many nations are going to request booster jabs this winter. For many young citizens who aren’t eligible for booster jabs yet, this could become frustrating.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories