Spain drops ban on unvaccinated children from the UK ahead of half-term

Sangita Lal reports on the change in Covid requirements for entering Spain

Spain will drop its entry requirement for children over-12 travelling from the UK to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from Monday, but the move comes too late for families who had already cancelled their plans.

Instead, children over-12 who have not been doubled vaccinated will now be required to show evidence of a recent negative coronavirus PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Spain.

Despite proposals by the EU seeking to streamline travel, Spain had insisted on full vaccination for entry for anyone over 12 - even if travellers have recently recovered from Covid.

Children between 12 and 15 are eligible for vaccines in the UK but must wait 12 weeks for the second jab – which restarts if they become infected in the meantime.

This has left many families unable to fully vaccinate their children ahead of half-term, especially if their child had a Covid infection between jabs and so further delaying a second dose.

Business coach Dina Gindy had planned a trip to Barcelona next week with her son Ziad, who caught Covid last year after his first jab and is still not allowed to go for his second. She lives in Milton Keynes while Ziad, 13, stays with his dad in Kingston-upon-Thames to be near school – meaning trips abroad are a chance for extended one-on-one time.

Dina told ITV News she cancelled the trip when it became clear Spain would require two doses for entry.

A Spanish flag waves as bathers enjoy the beach in Barbate, Cadiz province Credit: Emilio Morenatti/AP

The country’s minister for trade, industry and tourism, Reyes Maroto, said: “We are committed to making travel to Spain a safe and easy experience for our visitors, especially for families travelling with children.”

From Friday, fully vaccinated passengers no longer need to take a Covid test before travelling to the UK or on arrival. Unvaccinated travellers must have proof of a negative Covid test taken in the two days before travelling to the UK.

Pent-up demand drove bookings close to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, with Turkey, Egypt and Portugal among the most popular short-haul destinations.

Steve Heapy, chief executive of airline and tour operator Jet2, said: “This is very welcome news for families who want nothing more than to holiday in their favourite Spanish destinations.

“We are pleased to see the Spanish government taking positive action to welcome more arrivals from the UK and we know that this will lead to an increase in bookings.”