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COVID-19 VACCINES

UPDATE: UK says European travellers with mixed Covid doses do now count as ‘fully vaccinated’

After much confusion, criticism and contradictory messages the UK government has discreetly changed its Covid border rules - meaning that those vaccinated in Europe with mixed doses are considered fully inoculated and therefore can avoid quarantine.

UPDATE: UK says European travellers with mixed Covid doses do now count as 'fully vaccinated'
Photo: Ben Fathers / AFP

The UK government has updated its information regarding its new Covid border rules for England (Devolved countries Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may announce different policies) after complaints that its policy towards those with mixed vaccine doses was confusing.

This week British embassies have published information to say the UK would accept those with mixed Covid doses (for example one dose of AstraZeneca and one Pfizer) as fully vaccinated from October 4th even though the UK’s Department of Health and Social care insisted to The Local that there was no change in policy.

After repeated demands for clarity on behalf of our readers the government has discreetly updated its website with new information that confirms the mixed doses administered in Europe are now acceptable from now on.

In other words travellers who have had one dose of AstraZeneca and then a Pfizer or Moderna second dose, don’t have to wait until October 4th. They are considered fully vaccinated from now and can therefore avoid quarantine.

There wasn’t any apparent good news for those who have had Covid and then one dose of the vaccine – as is standard practice in many European countries. It still appears the UK considers this group of people as not fully vaccinated for the purpose of entry, although The Local has asked for clarification.

Here’s a summary of what the UK government’s new rules are for travel to England regarding mixed doses:

  • From 4am Monday 4th October, you will qualify as fully vaccinated if you are vaccinated either under an approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe or USA.
  • Where 2 doses of a vaccine are required for a full course, you will be able to mix 2 different types of vaccine, for example Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna

  • You will be able to have the 2 vaccinations under 2 different approved programmes, for example Australia and Japan, UK and USA, EU and Canada.

  • The government also states: “Until 4 October, mixed vaccines are only permitted if you are vaccinated under the UK, Europe, USA or UK overseas vaccination programme.”

Previously the UK had not accepted those with mixed doses as being fully vaccinated, which caused much anger among travellers from Europe.

One reader told The Local: “My partner, a British national with mixed vaccines, feels like a second class citizen and hasn’t seen her family since December 2019.”

In several European countries the mixing of Covid 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 – German chancellor Angela Merkel and French health minister Olivier Véran were among those who had mixed doses.

The UK is also changing its much-criticised entry rules from October 4th.

Vaccinated travellers heading from European countries to the England should take note of the following changes:

  • The UK has scrapped its “amber” list which contained most European countries. It now has just a reduced red list and then the “rest of the world” which currently contains European countries.
  • Vaccinated travellers from those countries not on the red list will not need to undertake pre-departure tests for travel to England (previously those travelling from European countries needed a PCR or antigen/lateral flow test within 72 hours of travel. This measure will be applicable from October 4th a 4am.
  • Those arriving in England from a non-red country will still need a test on day two of arrival, but it can be the cheaper lateral flow tests rather than the expensive PCR tests which previously needed to be reserved and paid for in advance of travel. This measure will come into force “later in October”. It was not clear whether these would have to be paid for and reserved in advance.
  • If you qualify as fully vaccinated you will have to: book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England, complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England, take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England

  • The UK says “you must be able to prove that you have been fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) with a document (digital or paper-based) from a national or state-level public health body that includes, as a minimum:

  • forename and surname(s)
  • date of birth vaccine brand and manufacturer
  • date of vaccination for every dose (Note that most vaccination certificates only contain the date of the second injection. We haven’t heard of this being a problem)
  • country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer

Travellers who are not vaccinated must continue to quarantine in England or 10 days as well as take pre-departure tests and tests on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.

If you have any questions regarding travel from Europe to the UK please email us at [email protected]

Member comments

  1. Great news, but…a question from one of the quarter million Canadians who received Astra Zeneca Covishield…
    Is it accepted under these new rules?

      1. Thank you, fellow reader. Things are changing so quickly… Now wondering about acceptance of mixed doses. Am continuing to dive into the documents to clarify this. The Local is of enormous help by providing clear answers and links. Grazie!

  2. It says the proof must include: country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer.

    I don’t see this listed on the certificate in TousAntiCovid app. Does that mean we need to carry the two paper/barcode sheets which do seem to have this?

    1. I expect that this is the EU DCC equivalent QR code? If so, try to download the Corona Warn or CovPass apps used in Germany. Scan the QR code in that and this shows you the issuing country as well.

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

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“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.

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