Fully vaccinated Islander returning from the UK forced to self-isolate

A FULLY vaccinated Islander, who will be required to isolate for ten days when she returns to Jersey from the UK, has said that the government’s policy regarding Covid-19 vaccinations administered abroad has made her feel ‘like a second-class citizen’.

Sue Hamelin received her first Astra-Zeneca dose in Grenada. Pictured is St George's, the island's capital. (31047920)
Sue Hamelin received her first Astra-Zeneca dose in Grenada. Pictured is St George's, the island's capital. (31047920)

From Tuesday, passengers arriving in Jersey from a red zone will only need to isolate until they have received a negative result from their arrival test if they have been fully vaccinated within the Common Travel Area of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man.

However, anyone arriving from a red zone will need to isolate until they have received a negative result from their day-ten test if they were vaccinated in another country.

Sue Hamelin, who is due to travel from London to Jersey on 23 June to visit family, urged the government to rethink its policy and to allow all fully vaccinated travellers to have the same rights as those who received their jabs in the CTA.

Mrs Hamelin explained that she had received her first Covid-19 vaccination in March, while she was living in Grenada, and had her second vaccination in London after she travelled to the UK for an arm operation. As her first vaccine was administered outside the CTA, she will be required to isolate for the majority of her 12-day trip to Jersey.

She said: ‘It’s the same AstraZeneca vaccine that I’ve had. I have all the documentation. It has the batch number, the lot number, the expiry date – exactly the same information as the UK vaccination. My GP has also manually uploaded my details so I appear as fully vaccinated to all intents and purposes in the UK. But Jersey is failing to recognise that status.

‘I understand that Jersey has the ability to put the emergency brakes on. It is fine to want the Island to be safe and protected.

‘But I don’t understand why they are treating residents, and people who have lived and worked there for 30 years, like a second-class citizen. That’s how I feel.’

The government announced changes to the Safer Travel Policy – including the easing of isolation requirements for people who had been fully vaccinated within the CTA – last week.

Shayne Wallis, Mrs Hamelin’s partner, explained that they spend six months of the year in Grenada and the rest travelling and visiting Jersey, where they lived and worked for 30 years. He explained that Mrs Hamelin had decided to have her first vaccination in Grenada so that she was immunised as early as possible, in anticipation of wanting to travel later in the year.

‘We thought the sooner the better for travelling,’ said Mr Wallis. ‘The crazy thing is, if Sue had waited and had her vaccine when she arrived in London and the second one in eight weeks’ time, she would now be able to happily go home.

‘She’s going through absolute hell. She’s just had a major operation on her arm, is recuperating and having physio and now wants to go back home to Jersey to see the kids and grandkids. Sue’s coming back from a country with very few active cases, she’s been in the UK for eight weeks and had seven negative PCR tests. But, because her first jab was not [administered] in the Common Travel Area, she is not considered fully vaccinated so the majority of her 12 days in Jersey will have to be spent in isolation. It’s absolutely ridiculous. This policy needs changing.

Mrs Hamelin added: ‘You’re not able to get a third jab so I can’t get the UK documentation now. I can’t be the only person in this position. I imagine there are many people who have had one or two vaccinations done outside the UK now that the travel corridors are opening slightly. This will remain an issue unless Jersey changes its view.’

A government spokesperson said: ‘Until an internationally-recognised Covid Status Certificate is available, at this stage we are not in a position to approve vaccination evidence from countries outside the Common Travel Area. If somebody has been vaccinated somewhere else in the world, they will not be recognised as fully vaccinated in Tuesday’s updated travel policy.

'We are continuing to work closely with the UK government and other countries to support the development of an international agreed solution. In advance of an international solution, efforts are ongoing to look at opportunities for bilateral arrangements with other jurisdictions.'

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