Brits travelling abroad could face restrictions again if they do not get a Covid booster shot, according to a new report.
Ministers are planning to implement testing and quarantine rules for those who don’t get a third jab, the Mail on Sunday reported.
It’s hoped the change will help drive up the take-up of booster jabs, which have only been received by 60% of eligible people.
But the newspaper reported officials are divided on how soon to implement the measures.
The report said they are discussing a grace period to allow people to continue to travel without quarantine if they have sought a booster six months after their second jab but have not yet been offered an appointment.
A Government source told the Mail on Sunday: ‘This is not going to happen immediately – but happen it will.’
Official guidance was updated earlier this month to say the Government ‘is reviewing the implications and requirements of boosters for international travel certification’ and ‘looking at whether and how booster vaccinations could be included in the NHS Covid Pass for travel’.
The report added a person would only be ‘fully vaccinated’ if they had the third jab rather than the current two, and they would not be able to produce a negative coronavirus test in place of the booster vaccine.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said younger relatives should urge eligible parents and grandparents to take up the offer of a booster and the flu vaccine to help avoid a return to coronavirus restrictions over Christmas.
So far almost 10 million people in the UK have received a top-up jab, but around 30% of over-80s and 40% of over-50s in England are yet to receive a booster shot of vaccine, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
Mr Javid said if ‘we all come together and play our part’ then the country can ‘avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas’.
He said: ‘This truly is a national mission.
‘If we all come together and play our part, we can get through this challenging winter, avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas.’
NHS England will begin inviting those who had their second dose more than five months ago, meaning they can receive their top-up as soon as it has been six months since their last vaccine.
Government guidelines state that people who are 50 and over, or aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of contracting Covid-19, and had their second dose six months ago are eligible to get their booster.
NHS England revealed eight million people were vaccinated by Saturday out of 12 million people that have been invited.
By next week, 16 million invitations for a booster will have been sent since the NHS booster programme began.
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