Concerns brewing over fully vaccinated Jamaicans having to quarantine in UKMonday, September 20, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Concerns are brewing in Jamaica after it emerged on Monday that the United Kingdom Government does not recognise fully vaccinated Jamaicans who intend to travel to that country, resulting in them having to adhere to UK quarantine rules.
In light of this, the Jamaican government has moved to have discussions with the UK government on its new measures which are to be implemented in October.
A raft of new measures published on the UK government's website that will take effect on October 4 at 4:00 am, stated that "the rules for international travel to England will change from the red, amber, green traffic light system to a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world".
"The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on your vaccination status," it added.
Once travellers meet the British government's requirements for fully vaccinated persons, they will not have to "take a pre-departure test; take a day 8 COVID-19 test; or quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days after you arrive in England."
However, vaccinated travellers must "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; and take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England."
The UK government will recognise visitors as being "fully vaccinated for at least 14 days under an approved vaccination program(me) in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas".
Additionally, vaccinated travellers must be inoculated "with a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan", the UK Government's website published.
Further, "mixing between two-dose vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna) in this list is also recognised".
Notably, the administering of those vaccines from Jamaica's public health body has not been recognised.
The third criteria for full vaccination is "under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the US, Canada and Australia and have a proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body", according to the British authorities.
For countries, including Jamaica, whose public health bodies have not been recognised for administering COVID-19 vaccines to enter England, they must follow the non-vaccinated rules.
Among those rules are quarantining at home or any other residence for 10 days, as well as taking a COVID-19 test "on or before day two and on or after day eight", the UK government said.
The new measures have caused some social media users to be uneasy, claiming that the rules are unfair given the fact Jamaica has been inoculating their citizens with the UK-based AstraZeneca vaccines, among other internationally recognised brands of COVID-19 vaccines.
Media personality, Terri-Karelle Reid, who has travelled to the United Kingdom, commented on the development on Monday.
"I landed safely in the UK. For those asking about the (vaccine) validity let me explain. Even if you are fully vaccinated here in Jamaica, the UK does not recognize vaccinations that were not administered under their programme or in the US.
“So we must adhere to their quarantine," she tweeted.
In the meantime, Jamaica's Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, has commented on the widely-discussed issue of vaccination status for its citizens in a series of tweets on Monday.
She disclosed, among other things, that she has engaged the UK government on the "issue at a technical level".
"I note persons are concerned about their vaccination status not being recognized in the UK. This is a function of 2 issues. In addition to their stoplight system (Ja- Amber) the UK has only recognized the vaccination programmes of a few countries, eg the M/States of the EU (European Union)," she tweeted.
She continued: "I brought the issue of the vaccination programme to the attention of Caricom for action last week, have engaged the UK gov't on the issue at a technical level and I will also raise the issue in upcoming bilateral meetings in the margins of the UN.
"However - the stoplight/travel status is a function of our vaccination numbers, hospitalisations and related considerations. There is some lack of clarity on the specific formula but it is clear that these circumstances need to improve," she stated.
In light of the travel status of the country, Johnson-Smith argued that this is an indication "for everyone to get vaccinated" to "reduce spread, improve the level of protection of our population from serious illness and hospitalisation and the development of variants."
Recognising that "an expanded UK list of programmes has already been determined for October", the minister described "the process" as "new and regrettably not transparent".
"We have nonetheless requested data from the MOHW (Ministry of Health and Wellness) to assist the UK gov't in their review of Jamaica's vaccination programme," she concluded.