Wednesday, December 1, 2021

For those without a Covid booster, there is a risk of tougher isolation and travel rules for overseas

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Prime Minister insists that the definition of “fully vaccinated” will change when immunity wears off

Travel restrictions and self-isolation rules for those who come into contact with positive Covid cases will be tightened for people who don’t receive their booster jab, Boris Johnson has warned.

It came when ministers on Monday adopted a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) that the booster program should be extended to people aged 40 to 49.

The Prime Minister confirmed that the definition of “fully vaccinated” needs to be changed to reflect the immunity that wears off over time from two shots of the Covid vaccine.

This means that people who are eligible for a refresher but do not take up the offer face greater restrictions in their daily lives, including forced isolation when they are in close contact with a positive case.

Under the current rules, double vaccinated people do not need to be quarantined for 10 days unless they show symptoms, even if they are living with a confirmed case.

Mr Johnson also said tighter travel restrictions on those returning from overseas will have to be reintroduced if they refuse the booster jab.

When asked if domestic Covid rules and travel restrictions need to change, Mr Johnson said at a press conference in Downing St, “It is very clear that getting three vaccinations – getting your booster – is going to be an important fact and It will make your life easier in many ways and we will have to adapt our concept of full vaccination to take this into account. And I think that’s getting more and more obvious.

He added, “Unfortunately, as we can see from what is happening, the two vaccinations are starting to wear off, so we need to be responsible and reflect that fact in the way we measure what makes a full vaccination.”

The Prime Minister previously said at the press conference that the booster dose will be added to Covid passports in the coming months to ensure people can travel without further restrictions.

It follows similar steps taken by other countries increasingly demanding evidence of a third dose of vaccine allowed to exceed their limits without testing or quarantine.

The booster program is now being extended to all over 40 year olds who were vaccinated for the second time six months ago.

In an earlier speech at a medical center in east London, Mr Johnson said a quarter of those over 75 years old had not yet accepted the booster vaccination offer and asked them to come forward to see what “the difference” for winter and Christmas will turn out to be.

Second doses for 16- and 17-year-olds were also approved after the JCVI said that group should be offered a second vaccination of Pfizer / BioNTech injection 12 weeks after receiving the first. Health officials said expanding the booster campaign and offering a second vaccination to 16- and 17-year-olds “will help extend our protection through 2022”.

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