Holidaymakers could face £30 charge from GPs for written proof of Covid-19 vaccine before travelling
- The Government has insisted it will not issue ‘immunity passports’ to Britons
- Vaccines minister said travellers could ask their GP for proof of inoculation
- Doctors can charge for writing certificates, which fall outside their NHS contract
Holidaymakers face having to pay up to £30 each for vaccine certificates from their GPs if they want to travel overseas.
Greece, Spain and the Canary Islands are among destinations considering plans to spare tourists the need to quarantine if they show they have been vaccinated.
But the Government has insisted it will not issue ‘immunity passports’ to Britons who have had a Covid jab.
Holidaymakers face having to pay up to £30 each for vaccine certificates from their GPs if they want to travel overseas
Instead, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said yesterday that travellers would be able to ask their GP for written proof that they have been inoculated.
Many will have to pay for this, however, as doctors are able to charge for writing vaccine certificates, which fall outside their NHS contract. Practices can set their own fees, which can range from £15 to £30 for each document.
The British Medical Association (BMA) suggested last night that patients should be given online access to their vaccination records so doctors can get on with giving jabs instead of spending more time on paperwork.
Appearing on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme yesterday, Mr Zahawi argued it would not be appropriate to give out vaccine passports, adding: ‘One, we don’t know the impact of the vaccines on transmission.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said that travellers would be able to ask their GP for written proof that they have been inoculated
‘Two, it would be discriminatory and I think the right thing to do is to make sure that people come forward to be vaccinated because they want to rather than it be made in some way mandatory through a passport.
‘If other countries require some form of proof, then you can ask your GP because your GP will hold your records and that will then be able to be used as your proof you’ve had the vaccine.
‘But we are not planning to have a passport in the UK.’
Ed Miliband, Labour’s business spokesman, said vaccine passports ‘may be necessary’, but raised questions over how they would be used. He added: ‘We should be open to this, but there are complications. Is it just for international travel? Is it for as you go about your business in your society?’
Ed Miliband, Labour’s business spokesman, said vaccine passports ‘may be necessary’
Doctors’ groups highlighted the burden of paperwork that could come from getting GPs to issue vaccine certificates. Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the BMA GP committee, said: ‘Practices are working flat out successfully delivering the Covid vaccination programme while continuing to provide non-Covid care to many other patients.
‘To prioritise this vital work, we need a reduction in bureaucracy and admin tasks.
‘It would far better if all patients had easy access to their vaccination history electronically so that they are able to provide evidence of this without needing to request a letter from their surgery.’
Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘The priority must be to keep GPs and their teams on the front line of the vaccination programme, not spending time on cumbersome red tape that will take them away from patient care and beating this virus.
‘GPs are working hard to get as many patients as possible vaccinated as safely and speedily as possible. We cannot allow administration to get in their way.’