Coronavirus: Using the NHS App as a covid-19 vaccine passport

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Coronavirus: Using the NHS App as a covid-19 vaccine passport
Coronavirus: Using the NHS App as a covid-19 vaccine passport

Brits wanting to travel overseas will be able to use their NHS App as a Covid-19 passport from 17 May, the transport secretary has announced.

In a coronavirus briefing today (7 May), Grant Shapps confirmed people would be able to access their vaccination status through the app when international travel is allowed later this month.

Announcing the 12 countries that will be on the UK’s ‘green’ travel list, which won’t require quarantine on return, Shapps added he was working with international partners to ensure digital Covid-19 passports were recognised globally.

Last week it was revealed the government intended to use the NHS App as a digital Covid-19 passport, with other options being considered for those without a smart phone.

Speaking to Sky News Shapps said the app would be used to prove travellers had had their Covid-19 vaccination, or a recent negative test.

Following the interview a government spokesperson confirmed: “The government is working on providing individuals with the means to demonstrate their Covid status easily – through a digital route as well as a route for people who don’t have access to a smart phone.

“Security and privacy will be at the core of our approach. Use of the NHS App is being considered as part of the digital route.”

The NHS App allows users to access a range of NHS services on their smartphone or tablet. It was launched in 2018 and offers services including symptom checking and triage; appointment booking; repeat prescription ordering; access to patient records; national data opt-out; and organ donation preference.

Users can already check their vaccination status through the app if permitted by their GP. This applies to all vaccines.

Since September 2019, the number of registered NHS App users has risen from 91,000 to over 220,000, according to NHS Digital. The NHS App is separate from the NHS Covid-19 app which was designed specifically as a contact-tracing app.

People will still be required to “check-in” to venues using the QR code scanner on the NHS Covid-19 app, as well as using it to check symptoms and enter test results.

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