Wayne Walker reports.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, is raising concerns that the vaccination status of Jamaican nationals is not being recognized in the United Kingdom.

Fully vaccinated Jamaicans who intend to travel to the United Kingdom are still required to quarantine.

Minister Johnson-Smith says the United Kingdom is in essence hand picking the vaccination programmes from some countries, most notably states from the European Union.

In a press release this afternoon, Minister Johnson-Smith confirmed that the vaccination status of Jamaican nationals is not being recognized in the United Kingdom.

According to the release some nationals have already been impacted by this latest development.

The release says it is further understood that in addition to their stop-light system where Jamaica has fallen in amber, the UK has only recognized the vaccination programmes of a few countries.

The release made reference to the member states of the European Union.

The Foreign Affairs Minister explained that she has brought the issue of the treatment of vaccination programmes to the attention of CARICOM for action last week.

Johnson-Smith also said she has engaged the UK Government on the issue at the technical level.

Additionally, the Foreign Affairs Minister said she will also raise the matter in the upcoming bilateral meeting with the UK, in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly this week.

Johnson Smith indicated that the stoplight travel status is a function of the vaccination numbers, hospitalizations, variants and related considerations in Jamaica.

She says there is some lack of clarity on the specific formula, but says it is quite clear that these circumstances need to be improved.

The Minister shared that an expanded UK List of programmes has already been determined for October.

She says while the process is relatively new, her Ministry has requested data from the Ministry of Health and Wellness to assist the UK Government in the review of Jamaica’s vaccination programme.

The Foreign Affairs Minister concluded that the travel status of the country is another reason the public should make a greater effort to take the vaccine.

Minister Johnson-Smith says the country needs to improve the level of protection for the wider population.