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Can we go on holiday in Tenerife with my 12-year-old daughter? | Consumer affairs


We are due to fly to Tenerife for a family holiday on 29 December. It was rolled over from last year. I have two children, aged nine and 12. The Spanish government requires all children of 12 and over to be fully vaccinated, but the UK government has not permitted 12- to 15-year-olds to receive a second jab. Consequently, my 12-year-old only received one dose. Do we need to cancel this holiday?
KL, London

Young people aged 12 to 15 have found themselves in a legal limbo when it comes to international travel. They were, until recently, too young to qualify for a second jab in the UK, so count as unvaccinated by countries which insist arrivals are double-dosed, but too old to be exempt from international vaccine requirements. This means they are barred from Germany, Malta and Canada, as well as Spain. Ski trips to Austria or Italy are a no-go since, although they would be allowed across the border, they are banned from public spaces, including ski lifts, while in France and Portugal they must take lateral flow tests to enter any tourist attractions. Given that this is your second attempt to take the holiday, the timings have been especially unlucky.

Spain’s new rules came into force on 1 December in response to the arrival of Omicron, and will have flung the plans of many families into disarray. At the same time, the UK government announced that 12- to 15-year-olds can now receive a second jab and, as of last week, those who have received both doses can get an NHS Covid pass letter for international travel.

This will have come too late for you. The second jab has to be at least 12 weeks after the first and, given that vaccines for your son’s age group were not available until late September, and Spain requires the second dose to have been taken at least 14 days before arrival in the country, there was a tiny window for compliance. I fear you’d better try to postpone the holiday again, although there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back.

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