Travellers face being turned away by airlines

VACCINATED islanders needing to travel internationally this month face the risk of being turned away at the airport.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29620098)
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29620098)

Work is taking place to develop a Guernsey vaccine passport and it is hoped that it will be released in early July.

But those needing to travel in June could face problems.

One islander, who asked not to be named, was recently due to travel to Greece with his wife, as they needed get their biometric residency permits. The permits must be applied for in person in Greece by the end of June.

The couple had both been vaccinated and had their dated appointment cards. But when they went to check-in their easyjet flight, they were told they must provide an NHS certificate – which has been issued to UK people who have been vaccinated, but not Guernsey residents. The fact local appointment cards were labelled as NHS cards caused extra confusion.

The traveller was hopeful he would be able to get the permit remotely due to the extenuating circumstances. But he was keen to warn others considering travelling.

Many airlines require a proof of vaccination or negative test results. The latter can be expensive and take time. The UK Government states that NHS appointment cards cannot be used to demonstrate vaccine status.

A States of Guernsey spokeswoman said it was trying to establish exactly what was needed to confirm a person’s Covid-19 status to meet immigration requirements around the world. This could include previous Covid-19 infections, dates of Covid-19 tests or a vaccination record.

‘As you can imagine, this is a complex project and one which is currently a priority for the Bailiwick,’ she said.

‘Travellers are being advised that it is their responsibility to ensure that they know what is expected from the countries or regions they are intending to travel to, and this would include the requirements of specific airlines.

‘Whatever document or system the Bailiwick introduces with regard to Covid-19 status confirmation, we are confident that it will be accepted by immigration services globally.’

In the meantime, travellers require confirmation of their Covid-19 status can be provided with a letter by the Vaccination Contact Centre.

‘It remains the responsibility of the traveller to confirm with the relevant airline or immigration service that this would be acceptable, and the States of Guernsey accepts no responsibility in this matter,’ the spokeswoman said.

The Vaccine Contact Centre requires five working days’ notice of any request by email to using the title – Covid-19 status request.

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