Britons vaccinated abroad are still struggling to get their jabs registered with the NHS, a Lib Dem peer has warned, despite government promises that measures would be in place by the end of last month.
Brian Paddick, a former London mayoral candidate and a member of the House of Lords, said the government was “yet again, promising things that they fail to deliver” after his GP was unable to register vaccinations he had in Norway, where he has been staying.
This means that Lord Paddick, like many British nationals vaccinated abroad, cannot get an NHS Covid pass, which is needed to avoid quarantine when returning from amber-list countries and, from September, may be required to enter some bars and venues.
The former deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, who has spent the last three months in Norway where his husband lives, has already had three vaccinations. His first jab, a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered in the UK, was not recognised in Norway, requiring him to have two Pfizer shots to be considered fully vaccinated there.
He said that if the UK fails to recognise the jabs he received in Norway, he may end up needing a fourth jab in order to have a complete vaccination record in the UK, where he lives and works.
“Which bearing in mind the worldwide shortage of vaccines, seems to be ridiculous,” he said.
To make matters worse for Paddick, he has been dropped by his GP as a result of living outside the UK for more than three months, and now he cannot access the NHS Covid pass app.
He said: “I wanted to desperately come back to the UK, but it just wasn’t practical with the cost and the need to quarantine. Plus, the advice not to travel.
“It wasn’t [necessary to travel] because I could work remotely, and so many people are in the same situation.”
He has called for a relaxation of the rules to allow people who have spent longer than three months outside the UK access to their GP.
“Lots of things have changed because of Covid and it just seems to me a ridiculous waste of everybody’s time and money to de-register somebody who is only going to go beyond the three-month limit by four weeks.”
Paddick has written to the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, and is yet to receive a response.
He said: “The Conservatives’ broken promises on registering foreign vaccinations and muddled travel advice is likely to leave many vaccinated overseas with problems at the UK border and without a GP on their return home.
“This government promised to work with vaccine regulators around the world to have this problem fixed by the end of July. It is unsurprising that, as with so many other promises they made during the pandemic, they have failed to meet their commitments.”
The House of Lords has been using a remote system during the pandemic, which will end after the parliamentary recess at the end of this month.
From September, Lords will need to be present in the chamber for debates and in order to vote.
The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.