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Quarantine-free Travel

Volume 699: debated on Tuesday 13 July 2021

What discussions he has had with his (a) European and (b) US counterparts on progressing (i) mutual quarantine-free travel for people who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 and (ii) international covid-19 vaccine pass recognition. (902638)

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. We are working with the United States authorities, with the EU and with other international partners to ensure a safe return to international travel while managing public health risks. We support a global consistent minimum technical standard for covid status notification. Of course, the NHS app with the NHS covid pass is now accepted in 33 countries around the world.

The continued lack of recognition of vaccination status between the UK and the EU is putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage, according to the Association of British Travel Agents, especially when compared with the steps taken by the EU and the US. Both the US and the EU now have standardised digital ways to prove vaccination status, so will the Minister clarify why there is an ongoing delay in resolving this matter?

The European Medicines Agency and our regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, work incredibly closely together, and the EMA has authorised the vaccines that are approved by the MHRA. All vaccines that are authorised and deployed in the UK have been subjected to rigorous checks, including individual batch testing and site inspection. Our two regulators work incredibly closely together and I am confident that we will continue to do so and ensure that any issues are resolved as quickly as possible, working with the manufacturers as well.