In my last post I mentioned that the blog would be a little sparse as I was going off on my first foreign adventure in over two years.
An eight day trip with Boo to Bologna, with visits to other cities sounded like the perfect holiday and one that I knew I really needed.
Everything was booked and all the documents printed off when I got a message around 10pm on the Friday evening from Boo telling me that I needed to fill out some online paperwork for the airline, British Airways.
This included sending your COVID vaccinations or proof you had recently recovered from COVID and had a Certificate of Recovery.
For me this was when it all went a bit pear-shaped and I realised that I had messed up.
And the reason that I am writing about this on my blog is to try and stop any other people having the same issue, if at all possible.
So, how did I mess things up?
Well I duly queued up for my first and second COVID jab, believing that was all I would need to help me stay protected and immune.
Then came out the info that a 3rd and then a 4th jab would be needed and it didn’t stop me from getting COVID, but wouldn’t be as severe a case if vaccinated.
Having the first two jabs made me more than sick. I was unwell for several days with each injection and I made the decision to not have the 3rd booster.
Then I finally caught COVID on the 26th March.
Yes, I was unwell but if I am honest, it was more like a severe cold; I had a sore throat, headache and a dry cough. My breathing was a little affected, but after a week I was getting negative test results and was on the mend.
This changed the dynamic of the paperwork I needed to submit to BA 36 hours before my flight.
I was mistakenly under the impression that if I had the 1st and 2nd injection in the past 365 days, that would good enough for my flights.
Reading into it further, the allowance is not 365 days but just over 200 days and I had my last jab 230 days ago.
I was completely out of time, with 36 hours to go.
The rules also stated that you could get a booster jab, but it had to be more than 14 days previously. So that too was out.
Of course, my anxiety and mental health went into a steep decline. I rang Boo up at 11pm sobbing down the phone, apologising for f***ing things up so badly.
The fact that I had a positive test a couple of weeks ago was my only hope.
Thankfully I had reported the positive test to the gov.org website which was shown on my COVID passport on the NHS app.
The only issue was it didn’t give a QR code or give all the information on one page.
What I needed was a certificate of recovery but it was 11pm on a Friday night and my doctors would be closed on Saturday.
The paperwork for BA was needed by end of business on Saturday and time really wasn’t on my side.
Boo and I were manically looking for an option to solve my problem. Googling different links and info to find out just what I could do to ensure that the trip would go ahead.
Thankfully we came across a service from a registered medical company, Warwickshire Private Health who could take all my medical records, arrange an urgent videocall with a GMC registered doctor who, assuming everything was submitted correctly, could issue a Certificate of Recovery within 2 hours.
Finally a light at the end of this tunnel I had created for myself.
Even better, they offered 24 hour access so you could ask any questions or address concerns before you even accept their services.
I emailed them with my details and issue and within 5 minutes I was in a whatsapp chat with an administrator for the service.
Telling them my history and the urgency of what I needed, they were able to point me in the right direction. I uploaded my proof and copies of documentation that I had and they looked over it all before telling me that they should be able to assist.
At this point, NO money had been paid which I thought was, as it would have been even fantastically worse to pay for a service and then it not be applicable or able to assist.
After telling me that the documents were exactly what they needed, I paid the fee for the appointment which although not cheap was much better than losing all my hotel and flight costs!
All in all, the appointment and QR coded certificate cost £140. Not a small amount, but if it meant I got to go on holiday….
Getting myself to bed, I tossed and turned a lot during the night as I was still so anxious over the whole debacle. Would the morning bring good news?
The alarm went off bright and breezy around 0800 and I got myself up and ready for the videocall at 0900. On the dot, my phone rang and I accepted the videocall.
A wonderful chatty female doctor gave me a full grilling on what I had done so far with regards to my records and my recent COVID illness. I severe discussed dates and symptoms and how the virus had affected me.
After a discussion lasting around 20 minutes, the Doctor was able to confirm that she could issue me with a Certificate of Recovery which is what I would need to travel.
Within 40 minutes I had emailed confirmation of the Certificate which I duly uploaded and sent to BA to adhere to their regulations.
Only once they had reviewed the documents and accepted them would I be able to travel. It took around 4 hours for the authorisation to come through.
I could go to Italy after all!
Time to pack after all.
So what is the point of this tale? Well, it is to get this information out there as much as possible. Many people do not check the regulations in advance and it seems that every Country has different rules. One place will accept a simple check, the next wants chapter and verse.
All I can say, is if you are going abroad any time soon PLEASE check the individual rules and documents needed. Don’t leave it to the last minute and end up in a panic just like me.
Oh and if you do, I cannot recommend WPH enough. They really were a complete savior and I cannot thank them enough for getting me sorted.
Lastly, watch this space for the Italy Trip blogs. Amazing sights and experiences were had and I can’t wait to share them with you all.
till next time,