Reader question: I’ve had Covid-19 and one jab in Spain – can I avoid quarantine in UK?

Reader question: I've had Covid-19 and one jab in Spain – can I avoid quarantine in UK?
Photo: Oli SCARFF / AFP
Fully vaccinated people can now travel from Spain to the UK without having to quarantine, but how about those who recovered from Covid-19 and had only one vaccine dose as advised by Spanish authorities?

Reader question: I’ve had Covid-19 in Spain and since then have had one dose of the vaccine, which counts as fully vaccinated here, so this means I can avoid quarantine in the UK?

Unfortunately there are different definitions of what “fully vaccinated” means in Spain and the UK.

The British government’s strict definition of “fully vaccinated” is that it means having two injections of a double-dose vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, or one injection of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson inoculation – while Spain and the EU also consider those who have recovered from the virus and who have had a single dose of any vaccine to be fully protected.

Spain’s vaccination strategy states that in most cases a person who has recently had Covid-19 has to wait six months before receiving their vaccination. 

However, the rules vary depending on the person’s age and whether they’d had one dose or not prior to infection (65 or younger without first dose: one dose six months after illness, 65 or younger with first dose: second dose six months after illness, older than 65 without first dose: two doses soon after self-isolation, older than 65 with one dose: second dose soon after self-isolation). 

Spain is not the only country with similar policies. Germany, France and other countries in Europe consider someone to be fully vaccinated if they have had one jab after recovering from Covid.

READ ALSO: What happens when tourists get Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain?

This has led to some confusion over whether those in Spain who have been ill with coronavirus, recovered and had a booster injection can travel to the UK without having to quarantine.

The UK government says people “need to show an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC), showing you’ve had a full course of an EMA or Swissmedic-approved vaccine”.

And the British Embassy in Madrid has confirmed news that will probably not go down well – the vaccination status of people in that circumstance does not allow for quarantine-free travel to the UK.

“Please be aware that the UK does not recognise natural immunity for international travel at this time, but this will be kept under review,” they wrote on the embassy’s Facebook page. 

“We know that the EU DCC does enable people to prove natural immunity. This is not currently accepted in the UK and quarantine and day 8 testing requirements will only be eased, for those who have been fully vaccinated in a relevant European country, with an EMA-approved vaccine,” it says.

The British Embassy in Spain also stressed that “you must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and “you must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.”

READ MORE:

The Local has asked the UK government whether there is a chance this position will change and we will keep you up to date with the latest information. 


Member comments

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  1. We are based in Catalunya. My wife had one Astra Zeneca vaccination and then contracted and subsequently recovered from Covid. As she is under 65 she would normally have to wait another six months for a further dose of vaccine. The local health centre has, however, undertaken to provide her with a second jab but can only now offer the Pfizer vaccine – the supplies of AstraZeneca have been run down in Catalunya and will not be re-ordered. While she will have been jabbed twice with two officially recognised vaccinations and have the relevant EU certification to that effect I am not 100% clear if she will be allowed to enter the UK without quarantining. I suspect not. Does anyone have a definitive answer on this i.e. is a ‘mix and match’ of two different vaccines acceptable as being fully vaccinated?

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