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Some airlines have said proof of vaccination against Covid-19 will be necessary for boarding flights when holidays finally, hopefully, restart later this year. While mass vaccinations are currently underway across the UK, it will still be some months until most of the population is vaccinated against the disease, which has now claimed nearly 100,000 lives in the UK alone.
Many are beginning to look forward to the prospect of a summer holiday once the vaccination programme has begun to have the desired effects.
Nearly five million people have received at least their first dose in the UK already, providing hope that the pandemic will be largely over by the time the holiday season comes around.
The UK is one of the worst affected countries in the world, with more than 3.5 million cases so far and the highest death rate in the world.
However, sunnier times lie ahead with lockdown regulations taking effect and the vaccination programme in full swing.
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Will airlines require proof of vaccination?
Some airlines, including Qantas, have already confirmed they will ask for proof of inoculation prior to boarding or booking a flight.
Short-haul carriers like Ryanair, EasyJet and Aer Lingus may not introduce any such red tape, according to some reports.
However, many airlines have been calling for rapid testing at airports to ensure people can fly without spreading the virus.
This could change for carriers if countries themselves decide to introduce a requirement of proof of vaccination before entering.
This has already happened with many countries requiring proof of a negative test prior to entry, so proof of vaccination could become likely.
Some countries around the world require you to have proof of vaccination for various diseases, so the move is not uncommon.
It is not currently known if countries or airlines will make special exceptions for those who cannot have the vaccine for health reasons.
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It is likely exemptions will be issued – for example, your GP can issue you with a medical exemption form if you cannot have the yellow fever vaccine.
However, if you choose not to have the vaccine because you simply don’t want to, this will not be grounds for exemption.
Travel insurance policies do not cover ‘disinclination to travel’ – which is defined as when the policyholder changes their own plans – meaning you won’t be able to claim back the cost of cancellation or if you are refused entry at the airport or border.
Refusing a vaccine could also impact your emergency medical cover, with some policies containing exclusions relating to vaccinations.
What about cruise lines?
Cruise line Saga has been the first line to announce it will require customers to have been vaccinated prior to boarding.
The popular company made the decision based on a customer survey that showed clients overwhelmingly wanted to see the policy put in place.
Passengers will also be required to take a test at departure.
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