Wednesday 16 June 2021
Statement pursuant to Rule 10(3) - COVID Vaccination Certificates
Thank you for agreeing to allow me to make a short statement to the Assembly on the subject of COVID vaccination certificates.
During the April 2021 meeting of this Assembly, I gave an undertaking that the Civil Contingencies Authority would share the template for the letter with Members before it is rolled out.
A copy of the letter template has been provided to members ahead of today's meeting.
The letter has been developed to closely align in format, content and security features to those being issued in the UK and the other Crown Dependencies, but with our own clear branding. This approach has been taken to ensure that the certificates issued in Guernsey are easily recognised and accepted when used beyond our borders. We have also used the more recognisable term of 'Government' instead of 'States' in our logo so that it is clear to those reviewing the letter outside of the Common Travel Area, who may not have heard of Guernsey, that it is an official document issued by a government authority.
The certificates will have a range of security features embedded in them, including holograms, the use of a Pantograph to prevent copying, microtext, a unique reference visible using the ISO Alpha-3 country code which is also coded into the barcode and visible and hidden watermarking. The approach will be similar to that used for bank notes to mitigate the risk of forgery.
This letter is being made available to allow people to provide proof of their vaccination status where required. I understand at this time that there are no countries that require a person to be vaccinated as the only condition of entry. Instead some countries are choosing to introduce policies that offer reduced testing or self-isolation to those who have been vaccinated.
With the introduction of the Blue Channel on 1st July 2021, anybody arriving in the Bailiwick from within the Common Travel Area will need to have their copy of this vaccination certificate as verification of their vaccine status in order to enter without any requirement for testing and/or self-isolation.
Similarly, as yet there are no current requirements to have proof of vaccination to gain entry into establishments such as pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, etc in the UK. As set out in the UK's roadmap, there is an ongoing research programme looking at events. Therefore, this remains an area of further policy discussions in the UK. We continue to engage with the UK Government, the Devolved Administrations and the other Crown Dependencies as these jurisdictions, like Guernsey, develop policies to continue the exit from lockdown.
The Authority is conscious that some people, for example because of an underlying health condition or other personal reasons, are unable to be vaccinated. This is an area for further policy development and we continue to engage with the UK and the other Crown Dependencies to better understand how these groups can be accommodated and so not disadvantaged in terms of their ability to travel because they have not been vaccinated.
We are also mindful that the vaccine programme is currently for people aged 18 years or over. This potentially creates a difficulty for a family where the parents have been vaccinated but their children have not. People looking to travel should check the policies in relation to vaccination status in the countries they intend to travel to and through. The Authority notes that the World Health Organisation's advice is that a children's vaccination status should be deemed as being the same as their parents.
Turning to the more practical details ...
The certificates will be available both as a printed document and in a digital format. The printed copies will be posted to all Bailiwick residents who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination using the address held on the vaccination database. The certificates will be available from early July. However, if anybody requires proof of their vaccination status earlier, it will be possible for them to apply for their certificate sooner.
The digital version will be accessed via the Travel Tracker and be linked to the individual's registration. It is anticipated that the digital version will be available two to three weeks later. It is not proposed to charge Islanders for their letter.
The certificates will be available from early July. However, if anybody requires proof of their vaccination status ahead of 1st July 2021, it will be possible for them to apply for their certificate sooner.