Open Letter to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid,Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Published 12th November 2021
Doctors of the World and The 3 million have written to The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to raise our concern that people who received their COVID vaccinations abroad or in a pop-up/walk-in vaccination centre without an NHS number are not recognised by the NHS as vaccinated.
12 November 2021
Dear Secretary of State for Health and Social Care,
In July, you said that “by reopening quarantine-free travel for travellers who have been fully vaccinated in European countries and the USA, we’re taking another step on the road to normality which will reunite friends and families and give UK businesses a boost.”
We felt hopeful that EU citizens and other foreign nationals living in the UK could resume visiting their families and friends abroad, and enjoy the same freedoms as their British counterparts when returning home in the UK.
Unfortunately, people who received their vaccinations abroad with vaccines approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) (because the pandemic meant they were stuck abroad, or were for example caring for a family member) have been telling us that due to an anomaly, they haven’t been able to enjoy the same freedoms.
Their vaccinations received in other countries, including for instance the EU, can get them through the UK border without the need to quarantine, but their jabs are not recognised by the NHS Track & Trace system.
“We were contacted by NHS Track & Trace because we were in “contact” with someone who tested positive, and told we had to self-isolate because, from the NHS’s perspective, we’re un-vaccinated. Had we received our vaccinations in the UK we’d have been exempt from having to self-isolate.
“An alternative is for us to get re-vaccinated in the UK (as we have decided to do), but that increases the risk of side-effects for us, and it deprives others of the jabs we’ll claim.”
We appreciate an agreement was reached with the European Union on this issue on 28 October 2021, yet the NHS website indicates that it is not possible to register vaccinations abroad with the NHS, but that the issue “is being worked on and an update is expected shortly”. That text hasn’t changed in the last three months.
The same issue is affecting people who have been fully vaccinated at a pop-up /walk-in vaccination centre, but who don’t have an NHS number and are not registered with a GP.
Until this issue is resolved, thousands of EU citizens and foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated still have to self-isolate any time someone in their surroundings tests positive to the COVID-10 virus, or worse, re-vaccinate which is not following Government, JCVI and NHS vaccination advice, and which risks side effects.
We have family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours across the country who call the UK home but are continuously in fear of having to isolate, who cannot fully participate in public life, in the economy, or in our communities despite being fully vaccinated.
Secretary of State, we are asking you to show leadership again and enable everyone who calls the UK home, and who has been doubly vaccinated by vaccines approved in the UK, to be able to be recognised by the NHS as vaccinated, regardless of where they got their jabs or whether they are registered with a GP.
Ellen Waters, Director of Development, Doctors of the World UK
Nicolas Hatton, CEO, the3million