Fifth of British travellers who went on last-minute summer holidays were not vaccinated, official data shows

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  • 82 percent of Britons who returned to Britain said they got a job in August
  • 85 percent of foreigners arriving in the UK said they had been vaccinated
  • Green, amber and red list traffic light system for every country is now over

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According to official figures, a fifth of British travelers who went on summer vacation at the last minute were not vaccinated.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 82 percent of passengers had at least one jab in August.

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This was slightly less than the 85 per cent of foreigners arriving in the UK who said they had been vaccinated.

Britons are not required to have a jab to go on holiday, but the old traffic light system required two doses of the vaccine to avoid quarantine for ten days upon return from amber or red list countries.

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New rules intended to make travel ‘easier and cheaper’ went into effect yesterday, with fully vaccinated Britons no longer required to be tested before flying back.

The previous system was too complex, following criticism that the UK has abolished the green, amber and red categories for a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ system.

Travel chiefs last night called on ministers to end the PCR test requirements for double-jawed Brits on day two of UK re-entry. He pushed for the end of all COVID testing for fully vaccinated Britons and the switch to bringing in cheaper rapid tests.

According to official figures, only four-fifths of British holidaymakers returning from abroad this summer were vaccinated. The graph shows: the proportion of British travelers returning to the UK who were vaccinated in each age group over time

The graph shows: the proportion of foreign travelers leaving the UK who were vaccinated in each age group over time

The graph shows: the proportion of foreign travelers leaving the UK who were vaccinated in each age group over time

Ministers plan to replace the requirement for ‘gold standard’ PCR – which can cost upwards of £100 – with cheaper and faster lateral flow later this month, but have yet to set a date for the change.

The ONS figures come from the International Traveler Survey, which interviewed more than 26,000 passengers from March to August.

It showed that 96 percent of British holidaymakers who left the country in August were vaccinated.

This was higher than the proportion (93 per cent) of foreign travelers returning home from the UK.

Only 56.4 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds said they had received a jab, with the UK vaccine rollout not extended to all 16-plus by the end of August.

Meanwhile, a slightly higher (60.7 percent) proportion of foreign travelers aged 16 to 24 who left the UK during July had received a vaccine.

But the proportion in all other age groups was lower than for British holidays.

About 67 percent of foreign residents said they were not at all confident of accessing information about the UK's COVID restrictions

About 67 percent of foreign residents said they were not at all confident of accessing information about the UK’s COVID restrictions

UK current red list of countries/territories

The UK government’s ‘Red List’ of 54 countries has been reduced to just nine. These are the countries that are currently on the Red List:

Afghanistan

Angola

Argentina

Bolivia

botswana

Brazil

Burundi

Cape Verde

Chile

Colombia

Congo (Democratic Republic)

Costa Rica

Cuba

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Eritrea

in swaziland

Ethiopia

French Guiana

Georgia

Guyana

Haiti

Indonesia

lisotto

Malawi

Mayotte

Mexico

Mongolia

montenegro

mozambique

myanmar

Namibia

Nepal

Panama

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

meeting

Rwanda

Seychelles

sierra leone

Somalia

South Africa

Sudan

Suriname

Tanzania

Thailand

Trinidad and Tobago

Tunisia

Uganda

Uruguay

Venezuela

Zambia

Zimbabwe

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The ONS said: ‘Older UK residents arriving in the UK are more likely to be vaccinated than younger UK residents, aligning with the progress of the vaccine rollout in the UK.

‘Respondents in older age groups were more likely to have received their vaccine earlier during the vaccine rollout, and the proportion reported that at least one dose in these age groups remained stable in August, but increased in younger age groups.’

In August, the majority of UK residents arriving in the UK said they found it difficult (47 per cent) or too difficult (32 per cent) to comply with foreign restrictions.

About 67 percent of foreign residents said they were not at all confident of accessing information about the UK’s COVID restrictions.

The government’s ‘red list’ of 54 countries was reduced to just nine on Thursday for families traveling during the half-time break.

Fully vaccinated residents from over 50 countries and territories and non-vaccinated under the age of 18 can now enter the UK without a pre-departure lateral flow test.

Those groups are now only required to take a day-two PCR post-arrival test, which costs around £65, and complete a passenger locator form.

Under-11s were already exempted from pre-departure testing.

Those arriving from Red Tier destinations will still be required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel costing £2,285 for solo travellers.

This comes as the travel boss called on the government to intensify its plan to phase out PCR tests in favor of cheaper lateral flow kits.

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: ‘With half a term in place, we urge the government to move quickly on the planned replacement of PCR tests.

UK consumers now need simple and affordable lateral flow tests to open up the journey to more hardworking families.

‘But ultimately UK consumers have been too long put off by unnecessary and costly travel testing, while across Europe the test is no longer required for vaccination from 1 July.’

British Airways chief Sean Doyle said: ‘We welcome the government’s changes to the traffic light system to allow passengers to benefit from the UK’s world-leading vaccination programme.

‘However, with less than 1 percent of travelers returning from low-risk countries testing positive for coronavirus, we urge ministers to cancel all testing for fully vaccinated travelers as soon as possible. ‘

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