In response to the latest surge in Covid-19 cases across Europe, the UK government is urging everyone to get a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine after six months. They are warning travelers who don’t get boosters that they could face restrictions upon reentering the UK, such as testing and quarantine.
This post will look at the latest news about booster shots in the UK and how it may impact travelers.
Booster Shot Campaign Underway In The UK
The World Health Organization has dubbed the European region the new “epicenter” of the global pandemic, warning the situation could get worse as winter approaches.
Many European countries are turning to booster shots as the solution, including the UK.
UK’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid is strongly urging everyone to get a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine ahead of the winter season.
“We know immunity begins to wane after six months, especially for the elderly and the vulnerable, and booster vaccines will top-up their protection to keep people safe over the winter.
“I strongly urge everybody who is eligible for a Covid-19 booster or flu vaccine to take up the offer as soon as you can.
Experts say even small dips in immunity among at-risk people will affect the NHS’s ability to cope this winter.
Currently, people over 50, health care workers, or those with serious health conditions can get a booster shot if they are at least six months out from a second dose.
By next week, 16 million invitations for a booster will have been sent since the NHS booster program began.
“If we all come together and play our part, we can get through this challenging winter, avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas,” said Javid.
Travelers Who Refuse Booster Will Face Restrictions
It has been reported that UK ministers have drawn up plans to bring back quarantine and testing for travelers who don’t get a booster shot.
Official guidance was updated earlier this month to say the Government “is reviewing the implications and requirements of boosters for international travel certification” and “looking at whether and how booster vaccinations could be included in the NHS Covid Pass for travel.”
This means the official definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ would go from having two shots to three. And producing a negative Covid-19 test will not be enough to bypass the rules, according to the paper.
It is not yet decided when the measures will be implemented. A grace period is being discussed to allow people to travel without quarantine if they have requested a booster six months after their second shot but have not yet been offered an appointment.
A government source said on Sunday: “This is not going to happen immediately – but happen it will.”
Currently, fully vaccinated travelers can enter the UK and are just required to do a day two test.
Will Other Countries Require Booster Shots?
Booster shots are not common in most countries yet, but as variants emerge and concerns grow over vaccine efficacy, some countries are setting vaccine “expiration dates” for travelers. Austria and Croatia were the first countries to do so.
Israel, which reopened on November 1st, is only accepting vaccines that have been taken within the last six months.
The United States, which is reopening for international travel today, has not yet set an expiry date for vaccine certificates.
As booster shots roll out around the world, it will be important for travelers to read each country’s entry requirements carefully to understand which vaccines are accepted and how long they are valid for.
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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