Fife student misses brother's wedding over travel rules confusion

A St Andrews student has been left ‘sad and disappointed’ after having to cancel a trip to see her brother get married, due to confusion over travel rules.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 9:56 am
The three PhD students going for their first vaccine.

North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain has reported that in at least three cases, students at the University of St Andrews have been unable to qualify for a quarantine exemption, despite having had both jags.

Three PhD students at the university have contacted the North East Fife MP concerned that, despite their health records indicating that they have received both doses, the vaccine certificate provided by NHS Scotland only certifies their second dose, making them ineligible for the UK's quarantine exemption. In each case, they had received their first vaccination in England in May and their second vaccination in Scotland in June.

One of the students, Ms Giulia Benedetta Calabrese is due to attend her brother’s wedding in an amber country next week. However, because of the confusion between health boards in Scotland and England, the PhD student may now face a choice between a lengthy and expensive quarantine or cancelling her entire trip.

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Ms Chamberlain contacted NHS Scotland’s Covid-19 Status Helpline to resolve the situation but was informed that the matter was an issue for NHS Scotland and NHS England to address. In a reply to Wendy Chamberlain, NHS England reported that a system is now in place to share vaccine data between Scotland and England, however Ms Calabrese has still not been able to obtain a quarantine exemption.

Ms Giulia Benedetta Calabrese said: "I'm very sad and disappointed that I might have to miss my brother's wedding. I have been very careful to ensure I got both vaccines and had all the paperwork ready to travel. I can't understand why the vaccination programmes in England and Scotland are struggling to match up people who have moved across the border, between jags.”

Ms Chamberlain added: "This is a shameful situation that should never even have come up.

"Many people, including thousands of students every year, move between the four nations of the UK. Yet confusion between our separate vaccine programmes has reached the point where jags received elsewhere in the UK have not been recognised by NHS Scotland."