Refusal to take covid-19 vaccine could cost travel insurance

Pedro Gonçalves
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Refusal to take covid-19 vaccine could cost travel insurance

Those who refuse to have the coronavirus vaccine risk invalidating their travel insurance as the UK becomes the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination.

Britain's medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe to be rolled out.

The first doses are already on their way to the UK, with 800,000 due in the coming days, Pfizer said.

From early next week we will start the programme of vaccinating people against covid-19 here in this country

Medical underwriting specialist and travel insurance expert Tricia Tietema told City A.M she would expect that those who are medically able to have the coronavirus vaccine but choose not to have it could breach the terms and conditions of their insurance policy. 

"It is the case that most of the larger insurers would already have declined claims for tropical diseases such as malaria or yellow fever if the traveller has not taken advantage of the vaccines available - and this exclusion can be found in policy wordings," Tietema said.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said the first doses would be issued to the most vulnerable people. The UK would have 800,000 doses available next week, he said.

"This is fantastic news. The MHRA, the fiercely independent regulator, has clinically authorised the vaccine for rollout. The NHS stands ready to make that happen," he told Sky News.

"From early next week we will start the programme of vaccinating people against covid-19 here in this country. The MHRA have approved it as clinically safe and we have a vaccine, so it's very good news."

Hancock said rolling out the vaccine across the UK would be "challenging" because it needed to be kept at -70C. A network of 50 hospitals was ready to deliver the first jabs, he said, and specialist vaccination centres were being built.

He said the vaccine would also be available from some GPs and pharmacists if they had cold storage facilities.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland's first doses will be administered on Tuesday.

Studies have shown the jab is 95% effective and works in all age groups.

 

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