NHS app ready to become vaccine passport

England’s NHS app will be available to use as a vaccine passport from Monday, the government has said – but only for those who have had both doses of the jab.

A paper version will also be available – by calling 119 but not through a GP.  Both will be available from Monday, 17 May, when the ban on foreign travel is eased.

The NHS app is separate to the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact tracing.

People can already use the NHS app to:

  • request repeat prescriptions
  • arrange appointments to see their doctor
  • view medical records

It can also show vaccine statuses, including for coronavirus, but this feature must be enabled by a GP before it appears on the app.

The app will not show coronavirus test results, but the NHS planned to incorporate this in the future, the government website said.

It advised people register to use the app at least two weeks before travelling. A paper letter can be requested only at least five days after a second vaccine dose and can take five days to arrive.

Government advice warns that there are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination and that most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test.

The government has announced 12 countries people in England can travel to, without having to quarantine when they return. But not all of these destinations allow UK tourists. The list will be reviewed every three weeks with countries potentially added or removed at short notice.

Travellers also need to take coronavirus tests before returning to England and after arrival. Some countries may also require tests to be taken upon entry to the holiday destination.

European officials have announced plans for an EU-wide “Green Digital Certificate”. This would allow anyone vaccinated against Covid or who has tested negative or recently recovered from the virus to travel within the region. Officials hope the certificate will be in place before the summer.

Several companies have been working on apps to make travel easier, including trade body the International Air Transport Association, who are piloting ‘Travel Pass’. It said it has been in discussions with government to ensure the pass can read data from the NHS App.

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