UK changes travel rules again to impose quarantine on European arrivals who had mixed vaccine doses
The UK government has changed its travel rules to demand that fully vaccinated arrivals in England must quarantine if they had two different vaccine doses – a practice common across Europe and taken up by thousands including German chancellor Angela Merkel.
The UK government’s travel rules say that arrivals from amber list countries (which includes the whole of Europe after France was reclassified from ‘amber plus’) no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated.
However, an addition to the rules on August 12th shattered dreams of quarantine free travel for many, by adding an amendment stating that to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’ by UK rules, travellers must have had two vaccines of the same brand.
In several European countries mixing of vaccines has been quite widespread, particularly for those who had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine before guidelines on its use in individual countries changed.
Many countries (including the UK) now advise not to use AstraZeneca for younger people because of the risks of rare blood clots.
Younger people who already had AstraZeneca for their first dose were advised by many countries’ health regulators to take Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose.
This covers tens of thousands of people including German chancellor Angela Merkel and French health minister Olivier Véran.
There is no credible medical evidence that individuals who had two different brands of Covid vaccine are less protected against the virus, in fact, some studies have suggested better protection from mixing and matching doses.
The ‘clarification’ of vaccine rules comes after a similar update saying that people who had received only a single dose of the vaccine after recovering from Covid – which is the standard practice in France – are also not considered fully vaccinated in the UK.
These rules at present affect only arrivals in England, the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have so far not indicated a change to their definitions.
Arrivals into the UK not considered fully vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days (which can be done at a location of your choice) and pay for travel tests on Day 2 and Day 8 after arrival.
Fully vaccinated arrivals do not need to quarantine, but must still pay for the Day 2 test.
All arrivals need to fill in a passenger locator form, and the form cannot be completed without a booking reference for tests, so the tests need to be booked and paid for before departure.
Under the UK rules, arrivals are considered fully vaccinated if;
They have been vaccinated with vaccines approved by the UK regulator – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson (also known as Janssen)
They have been vaccinated with two doses of the same vaccine
They are 14 days after the final dose
Published thelocal.es 14 August 2021