The UK must open its borders to all vaccinated people, regardless of country of origin, said the Tony Blair Institute.
In a paper entitled “Keeping Travel Open: A Vaccine Anywhere, A Vaccine Everywhere”, the NGO funded by the former Prime Minister outlined several key recommendations the government should follow if it wants to help travel – a sector that employs more than 1.7 million people – get back on its feet.
According to the research, the current system continues to prevent fully vaccinated people from enjoying quarantine-free travels because of their unrecognised vaccination status. The NGO argued that the UK should aligning with international best practices, shifting to a vaccination status travel policy where all WHO-approved vaccines are accepted, as that would benefit the UK’s travel sector and its overall economy.
“The UK should adopt a common-sense approach, in line with the EU and the US, which accepts that when it comes to travel, a vaccine anywhere should be a vaccine everywhere,” read the paper.
The authors also advised Downing Street to provide other countries with criteria on what constitutes acceptable certification, as well as to to develop mutually approved certification schemes with countries such as India.
As most Indians have been inoculated with the Astrazeneca vaccine’s Indian version, Covishield, Indian authorities have come to criticise the UK Government’s refusal to recognise vaccines administered in the country.
“Covishield has been used widely in many approved countries – including the UK itself, which received 5 million doses,” wrote the authors.
“But while the UK was quick to clarify that it would accept travellers from approved countries vaccinated with Covishield, it was only following fierce diplomatic criticism that the UK has expanded quarantine-free access to Indian citizens themselves from 11 October.”
The research comes a week after the government decided to further relax travel rules, ending the traffic light’s system and scrapping 47 countries – including South Africa – from its no-go list.
“The measures announced today mark the next step as we continue to open up travel and provide stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good,” said on Thursday transport secretary Grant Shapps.