Government could restrict travel for people who refuse Covid booster jab

8 November 2021, 07:38 | Updated: 8 November 2021, 08:13

Quarantine and testing could be reintroduced for people who turn down their booster jab
Quarantine and testing could be reintroduced for people who turn down their booster jab. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A minister has refused to deny reports that the Government is considering reintroducing travel restrictions for people who turn down their Covid booster jab.

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When asked about the plans, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told LBC that the "strain on our health service" would be 'eased' if people came forward to get their booster jab, adding that she was booked in for hers.

"I think one of the interesting things, as ever, is you can't go to some countries if you don't have a yellow fever vaccine," she told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"How other countries choose to set out their rules and regulations is not within our gift and what we need to be doing, as the UK now, is ensuring that our citizens have the best protection they can.

"The vaccine is an extraordinary gift to mankind, and we must all make charge of it."

She confirmed that booster jabs would be documented on an individual's NHS record in the same way as the first two doses - meaning that, if vaccine passports were introduced for boosters, the technology is already there to enable it.

No10 sources previously confirmed ministers were considering introducing quarantine and testing for international travel for people who turn down the third dose, according to the Guardian.

If implemented, the change will not come into force imminently.

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".

LBC has approached the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for a comment.

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The Government is urging elderly and vulnerable people to get their booster jabs as part of a "national mission" to avoid a return to restrictions over Christmas.

As of Sunday, approximately 30 per cent of over-80s - and 40 per cent of over-50s - in England were still yet to get their third dose, according to the DHSC.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the vaccine programme was a "national mission" and said if "we all come together and play our part" then the country can "avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas".

"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," said Mr Javid.

"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.

"For those not yet eligible, please help your parents, grandparents or vulnerable loved ones get their jabs, it could save their life."

More than 10 million people have received their booster jab since the programme began in mid-September, the Government announced on Sunday.

"An amazing 10 million people across the UK have already come forward for their booster," said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"We know vaccine immunity wanes over time, so boosters are vital in keeping you and your loved ones protected through the winter.

"Please get this lifesaving jab as soon as you are called."

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It comes as the chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency said the number of deaths among the double-vaccinated population is on the rise as protection weakens.

"We're still seeing deaths in mainly the unvaccinated population, but increasingly, because of immune waning effects, there are deaths in the vaccinated group as well," said Dr Susan Hopkins.

"The people who are dying are the same people who have died all the way through.

"It is particularly the older age groups, so the over-70s in particular, but also those who are clinically vulnerable, extremely vulnerable, and have underlying medical conditions."

It is hoped that reimposing travel restrictions on those who refuse their third vaccine will increase take-up of the booster jabs.