Derry actor ‘lost the role of a lifetime’ in Norway Viking film due to UK COVID vaccine cert issues
A Derry actor has lost out on the ‘role of a life-time’ in Norway as the country does not accept his Northern Ireland vaccination certification and he is not entitled to the EU Covid 19 Digital Certificate.
Timothy O’Sullivan was ‘delighted’ when he was offered the lead role in a movie being filmed about Ivar the Boneless, a Viking chieftain.
It was a dream come true for Timothy, who has been involved in acting for 12 years and is a member of a Viking re-enactment and history group.
However, Timothy, who holds an Irish passport and was born in the South, was left ‘devastated’ when he was informed Norway does not recognise UK vaccination certification for travel and includes Northern Ireland as part of that.
As his vaccinations - Astrazeneca - were administered in Northern Ireland, he is also not entitled to an EU Digital Covid 19 certificate.
Timothy said: “They said first that they don’t accept certs from England. I told them we’re not in England, we’re Northern Ireland, but it didn’t matter. It isn’t recognised and it has now changed from England to ‘UK’ on the website. I was asked if I could get my hands on the EU Digital Covid Certificate so I contacted everyone I could think of, on both sides of the border - Ministers’ offices, political parties, I emailed everyone and anyone. I included the batch number of the vaccine, my NHS number and all relevant information. About five came back to me and it was basically that it was a ‘no go.’”
Anyone looking to travel from Northern Ireland can apply for a proof of vaccination document and an app/digital certification process is due to be launched soon.
People in NI cannot currently access the NHS app. Following Brexit, they also can’t access the EU Digital Covid 19 certificate.
Timothy said: “What was coming back was that there is no information sharing of medical records from Northern Ireland, so they can’t prove I had the vaccine.”
He was ‘gutted’ to have to give up the role. “There was a short time-frame in which they needed to apply for the visa. This was the role of a life-time for me. It’s too late for me now, but I want other people to be aware. You hear of countries that are red list or green list etc, but you could be flying out to a country and then get stopped at the border as they don’t recognise your vaccine certification. There needs to be a list on the Executive’s site of the countries that don’t accept it.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The UK government is actively engaging other states on a bilateral basis, and multilaterally through organisations including the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the World Health Organisation to support work on vaccine certification.
“We have shared details of our certificate and apps with FCDO, including our public keys for the QR codes. These are being shared with other countries. The FCDO will update travel guidance on their website, by country, when agreements are in place, indicating acceptance of our certification / app.
“Travellers should check the latest UK Government travel advice which will give updated information on travel to individual countries, including any Covid-related entry requirements: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice”