The UK is taking a firm stance regarding the way it views vaccinated travelers by forcing those who have mixed two different Covid-19 vaccine types to quarantine upon arrival. Not shy to update their travel restrictions, the UK’s tough new rule was updated just last week and could affect the travel plans of thousands of travelers across the EU and the wider world.
The controversial new requirement differs drastically from other rules on the continent, with the European Medical Association promoting the idea with other European countries have made official recommendations to their citizens to mix vaccinate types. Here’s a closer look at the UK’s rule change and what it means for travelers.
UK’s New Requirement – Information For Travelers
On the face of it, life in the UK looks like it has gone back to normality. Pubs and restaurants are open, the mask mandate is all but over and football is now back with full crowds in tow. However, whilst its domestic restrictions might have been dialled down, its restrictions for international travelers are still in place as the UK focuses on preventing importing new Covid-19 cases from abroad – including the updated requirements regarding vaccinated travelers and quarantine.
On August 12th, an update to the UK’s current entry restrictions was posted on the government’s website. The update served as an amendment to the UK’s definition of fully vaccinated. According to the British government, in order to be fully vaccinated a traveler must have had two vaccines from the same brand, which means those who have mixed two different types of vaccine – an act that is growing in popularity in some parts of the world – will not be considered as fully vaccinated in the UK.
The update on the government’s website reads as follows:
‘Fully vaccinated’ means you must have had a final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 whole days before you arrive in England. The day you have your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days. If you were vaccinated in 2 doses it must be with the same (MHRA, EMA, Swissmedic or FDA) approved vaccine. For example, if your first dose was Moderna your second dose must also be Moderna.
Whilst the update is less likely to affect British travelers returning to the UK due to the nature of their vaccination program, it will affect many on the continent who were planning to visit the UK, as many countries – such as Germany and its chancellor, Angela Merkel – made an official recommendation to their citizens to mix vaccine types. Such practices saw many follow their AstraZeneca shots with a dose of an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna.
It means that those who followed a course of inoculation that saw them mix vaccine types will have to self-isolate in the UK for 10 days, as they will not be considered fully vaccinated. They will also have to pay for testing on days 2 and 8 of their isolation.
Different EU countries are free to set their own entry requirements, the EMA only accepts specific types of vaccine. These are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. Whilst it hasn’t declared an official position on mixing vaccines, the EMA described initial results as “positive”. Travel around the EU has also been made easier due to their vaccine passports, the EU Digital Covid Certificate. More information on that can be found here.
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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