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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 edito[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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NORWEGIAN CITIZENSHIP

Norwegian police urge travellers not to book holidays without a valid passport 

The public has been warned by the Norwegian Police Directorate, which issues travel documents, to not book any foreign holidays without a valid passport due to long waiting times for travel documents.

Norwegian police urge travellers not to book holidays without a valid passport 

Due to long waiting times, the public has been cautioned against making holiday plans without a valid Norwegian passport as travel documents may not arrive in time for the trip. 

“We would strongly encourage people to wait to book a holiday abroad before they know that they have their travel documents in order,” Bjørn Vandvik from the Norwegian Police Directorate said in a statement on Wednesday

Previously the police said that those travelling within the EEA this summer should instead order a national ID card which allows for travel within the Schengen area because that form of travel documentation was subject to shorter waiting times. 

Those wishing to travel during fellesferie, the collective holiday period in Norway, have been advised to order new travel documents by the end of May or the beginning of June at the latest. 

Despite the measures put in place by the police to try and ensure that supply meets demand, waiting lists are growing longer, and the authorities don’t expect the backlog to be cleared until the autumn.

The current waiting time for passports is around seven weeks. However, the police have said they expect this to increase to 10 weeks by July. 

READ MORE: How do Norway’s slow passport processing times compare to Denmark and Sweden?

So far this year, the police have received 560,40 passport applications. In contrast, the police registered 270,000 applications in 2019. 

A mixture of the pandemic and war in Ukraine has made getting the materials used to produce national ID cards and passports more difficult.

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