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UK Adds Three More Approved Vaccines For Incoming Travelers

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It was announced this week that three more vaccines will be added to the UK's list of approved vaccines for travel.

Travelers who’ve received full dosage of the Sinovac, Covaxin and Sinopharm Beijng will be able to visit the United Kingdom for non-essential purposes starting November 22.

This means that once these changes are official, all vaccines on the World Health Organization's Emergency Use List will be recognized for all travel to the UK.

Kynance Cove beach, Lizard peninsula, South West Cornwall, UK.

UK Simplifies Entry Restrictions For Fully Vaccinated Travelers

As posted on the UK government website, here are the updated guidelines for travel:

  • All WHO approved vaccines will be accepted for travel to the United Kingdom
  • Travelers under 18 will not be required to show proof of vaccination for entry, and won't have to self-isolate upon arrival.
  • The changes will officially go into effect at 4 a.m. on Monday, November 22, UK time.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made a statement following the update: “As we continue to recover from the pandemic and expand our recognition of international vaccines, today’s announcements mark the next step in our restart of international travel,” he said.

“By also simplifying the rules for international travel for all under-18s coming to England, we’re bringing further good news for families looking to unite with loved ones, and another great boost for the travel sector,” Shapps continued.

Financial District of London and the Tower Bridge

Will Travelers Have To Take A Test On Arrival?

The UK's updated guidelines released this week state that fully vaccinated passengers will no longer have to take a pre-departure test for travel, a test on Day 8 and self-isolate upon arrival to the UK. These travelers must have a vaccine certificate from one of the approved countries listed here. However, a lateral flow test will still be required on Day 2 of arrival to the UK.

While travelers under 18 will be exempt from quarantine and a pre-departure test, they will also be required to take one post-arrival Covid test. If the traveler tests positive, a free PCR test will be given for confirmation purposes.

traveler holding phone with Covid vaccine travel app and passport

Approved Vaccines For Travel To The UK

From November 22, this is the full list of approved vaccines for all inbound travel to the UK:

  • Pfizer BioNTech
  • Oxford AstraZeneca (including Covishield)
  • Moderna
  • Janssen (J&J)
  • All WHO EUL vaccines, including Sinovac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin.

Just to note, the US also currently recognizes all WHO EUL vaccines for inbound travel.

traveler at the terminal standing and waiting for flight

Statement From UK Health And Social Care Secretary

The UK's Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, made a statement following this week's travel restrictions update: “Today’s announcement is another step forward for the travel industry, businesses and for family and friends wanting to reunite or go abroad.”

Secretary Javid continued to explain that some restrictions can be reinstated in the future. “The red list and quarantine system remain vital in protecting our borders and as we’ve said we will not hesitate to take action by adding countries to the red list if necessary,” she said.

Fully vaccinated travelers from Colombia will soon be able to visit the UK without restrictions

UK To Welcome Back Travelers From Malaysia, India And The UAE

Once these changes go into effect, fully vaccinated visitors from countries such as Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and India will be able to travel to the UK for non-essential purposes without any restrictions (other than one post-arrival lateral flow test).

This week's update is great news for travelers across the globe, as the UK's restrictive entry policies over the past few months have been frustrating for many. Some grievances included confusion when it comes to mixed vaccine doses, tight guidelines for accepted vaccines and expensive pre-departure and on arrival testing.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Nov 11, 2019. Aerial view of Kuala Lumpur city skyline at sunset in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The UK updated its policy at the end of September after a public outcry in India called for the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca/Covishield to be accepted for entry into the UK.

And on November 1st, the UK removed all countries from its travel “red list”. However, the traffic light system isn't fully eliminated. According to the official government website, the UK will keep its border measures “under review.” Travel restrictions can be imposed in order to protect public health.

London bridge aerial view from the porthole

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