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Will I need a booster shot to travel in 2022? How can I prove it in the NHS app?

Proof of third Covid vaccination dose has now been added to the NHS app

Will I need a booster shot to travel in 2022? How can I prove it in the NHS app?

Travellers may have to pay hundreds of pounds more for tests while on holiday if they haven’t had their third Covid-19 jab, or can’t prove their boosted vaccination status.

From today, third doses of eligible covid vaccinations will be displayed in the NHS travel app, meaning those who have had their booster jab will once again be able to prove their fully vaccinated status when travelling.

Previously, the app did not have the capacity to display proof of booster jabs, meaning those whose ‘fully vaccinated’ status relied on a booster shot were unable to easily prove their immunity while travelling.

Croatia, Austria and Switzerland are amongst a small but growing number of countries that have set limits on the validity of vaccines and vaccine passports. All three only consider travellers ‘fully vaccinated’ for one year after their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.  This validity can be extended by a further year with a booster third jab. 

Travellers who haven’t had a booster jab or can’t provide evidence of one (see below) will have to follow the entry rules for unvaccinated travellers. For Austria, Croatia and Switzerland that means providing a negative PCR test before travel. That could add hundreds of pounds to a family holiday.

The Prime Minister already suggested upcoming plans to add proof of a third booster jab to the NHS Covid passport app earlier this week. In a press conference on Monday he confirmed that “getting fully vaccinated with a booster is going to be something that will, on the whole, make your life easier in all kinds of ways including foreign travel.”

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Booster third jabs for restaurants, bars and events

Your vaccine passport isn’t just used to enter the country. Croatia and Switzerland have varying rules on vaccination status to enter bars, restaurants and indoor events. This is true of most countries in Europe, and several US states such as New York and California.

Austria has introduced a lockdown for the unvaccinated, meaning those unable to prove their fully vaccinated status are only permitted to leave home for a limited set of essential reasons.

If a vaccine passport is required and yours has expired you will need to provide a negative Covid-19 test instead – that could add up to a costly holiday if you need to take them repeatedly.

Booster third jabs for winter holidays and 2022

If you have booked a holiday already, it’s worth checking the validity of your vaccine against your travel dates by counting 365 days from your second jab, which is easy, or 360 days for Austria to determine whether your immunity ‘expires’ before or during your planned trip. 

If your trip is at risk, check your travel insurance policy to find out whether you’re covered, although this new development is unlikely to have been accounted for in previous policies.

My Covid third jab booster isn’t showing in the NHS app what should I do?

Woman and man distressed at laptop over refund

Following an app update on 19 November your booster jab should now be showing in the app. You can read more information about using the app, along with some troubleshooting tips in our guide to using the NHS app as a covid passport.

We have asked the Department of Health and Social Care if those who have had a booster can also apply for an NHS letter which will provide their third vaccine status 

What Tui and EasyJet Holidays say about booster jabs

Meeting the entry requirements for a country is the traveller’s responsibility so you won’t be able to claim a refund if your vaccine validity expires before travel and you don’t want to go.

Which? contacted the UK’s largest tour operators to ask what options travellers have.

Tui and EasyJet Holidays said customers could rebook their package holiday to new dates if their vaccination status has expired. In both cases the firms will waive the admin fee for the rebooking so long as you give them 28 days notice, although you will need to pay any difference in price for the new dates.

Jet2 Holidays didn’t respond to our request for information.

Most airlines, although not Ryanair, have flexible booking policies. British Airways book with confidence policy and EasyJet’s protection promise both let you rebook for new dates and even new destinations up to a few hours before your flight.

Unfortunately, it may be more difficult to get your money back for a hotel. Some accommodation providers also offer flexibility but  it depends on the website and the T&Cs at the time of booking. 

If you’re feeling bewildered, Which? has put together a holiday checklist to help ensure you’re prepared for your trip and a Covid-19 test FAQ to help you understand the tests you’ll need to safeguard your holiday plans.

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