While travelers who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are currently exempt from quarantine when returning from amber list countries in the United Kingdom, a government source has warned they may no longer be considered fully vaccinated once the booster roll-out has begun.
This means travelers returning to the UK may need to quarantine if they have not received a third booster shot.
Booster Shot May Be Required For Quarantine Free Travel
Currently, double-vaccinated Britons are exempt from quarantine when returning from amber list destinations, whereas those who have only received one dose, or none, must quarantine for ten days.
The government source, who is reportedly close to talks about Covid certification, says this may change once the booster roll-out begins.
He said that “the assumption is that you will be required to have the most up-to-date health passport.
“So if the advice is to have a booster six months after your second jab, then that is what you’ll need.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there are already plans for booster shots to go to vulnerable groups and over-50s from September and that the ministers have suggested the “logical” next step would be to make these booster shots a condition of keeping a person’s vaccine status up-to-date.
However, It has not yet been confirmed whether or when healthy under-50s will get booster shots in the UK.
A government spokesperson said: “We are preparing for a booster programme to ensure those most vulnerable to COVID-19 have protection extended ahead of winter and against new variants.
“Any booster programme will be based on the final advice of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Until we receive the independent JCVI advice no decisions can be made on wider requirements for those who receive booster jabs.”
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith wanted the government to tread lightly on this decision.
“If I were the Government I would tread carefully on this. Booster jabs will take a while to get to the majority of the travelling public. And there are issues around whether they are necessary – some scientists say that they may not be necessary.”
Will Other Countries Require Booster Shots For Travel?
As other countries, like Canada, have a similar policy for vaccinated travelers returning without quarantine, it raises the question of whether more countries will require travelers to get booster vaccines.
While nothing has been officially stated yet regarding travel, Canada and the United States have started discussing booster vaccines and securing more.
The Canadian government just reached an agreement with Moderna for an additional supply of Covid-19 vaccines until 2024.
Moderna CEO Stephane said that the agreement will give Canada access to Moderna’s mRNA “development engine” and allow the country priority access to the dose.
The announcement was also made in the face of the possibility of a third booster shot to better protect Canadians from more vaccine-resistant variants of the virus.
Pfizer says new data shows a booster shot “strongly” hikes protection against the delta variant.
U.S regulators authorized a third dose of Covid-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna on Friday for people with compromised immune systems.
However, the World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine boosters until at least the end of September in order to give all countries time to vaccinate at least 10% of their populations.
“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it,” WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries.”
Whether or not a booster shot is needed or will be required for travel remains to be seen, but the discussion is well underway.
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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