You won’t be able to leave the country without a vaccine, Grant Shapps warns

Young people have been warned they ‘won’t be able to leave the country’ if they don’t get vaccinated (Photo: Shutterstock)Young people have been warned they ‘won’t be able to leave the country’ if they don’t get vaccinated (Photo: Shutterstock)
Young people have been warned they ‘won’t be able to leave the country’ if they don’t get vaccinated (Photo: Shutterstock) | Shutterstock

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has indicated that young people will need to be vaccinated if they want to travel abroad.

Following a simplification of the travel rules on Wednesday night, which saw France move to the amber list, Mr Shapps defended the latest changes after several days of confusion surrounding the mooted ‘amber watchlist’.

He also made it clear that being fully vaccinated against coronavirus will be required to travel “for ever more”.

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At-a-glance: 5 key points

  • The Transport Secretary, who has endured a torrid week over the ‘amber watchlist’ plan which never came to pass, defended the changes to the travel rules.
  • In an attempt to encourage younger people to get vaccinated, Mr Shapps warned “you won’t be able to leave the country” unless you’re fully protected from Covid-19.
  • Travel firms have seen a surge in demand following the announcement, with Skyscanner recording a 45% increase in visits to its website and Emirates reporting a “huge surge in queries”.
  • The changes to the travel rules come into effect at 4am on Sunday.
  • Asked whether Spain could be put on the red list in the future, Mr Shapps said “you can never say there is zero chance”.

What did Grant Shapps say?

Mr Shapps predicted that Covid vaccines will become a permanent requirement for international travel.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think double vaccination, full vaccination, is going to be a feature for ever more, and most countries, probably all countries, will require full vaccination in order for you to enter.”

The minister explained that the rollout of vaccinations in the UK and overseas means changes to the travel lists are being made every three weeks, compared with once a week last summer.

He told Today: “I hope people will be able to go away under this simplified system, enjoy their breaks and not be looking over their shoulders the whole time.”

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Talking to LBC, Mr Shapps said that young people who believe they will not need the vaccine because the virus is less likely to affect them were mistaken because they would be unable to travel.

“It’s important to understand that there are simply going to be things that you will not be able to do unless you’re double-vaccinated or have a medical reason not to be, including going abroad,” he said.

“So actually there are good reasons if you’re perhaps in your twenties and you feel like ‘oh, this doesn’t really affect me’ — well, it is going to, because you won’t be able to leave the country.”



The government has been making a concerted effort to improve vaccine rates among younger people, following concerns over a slow-down in uptake.

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They recently announced a host of discounts and freebies for those who get jabbed, and the Prime Minister signalled that the NHS Covid Pass will be required for entry into nightclubs from the end of September.

The changes to the travel rules mean that Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia will be added to the green list.

France is being aligned with other amber countries, which means fully vaccinated arrivals from the country will not need to self-isolate at home.

Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan said the country will replicate changes to restrictions on international travel being made in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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