The UK’s National Health System app now displays people’s vaccination status for access to foreign countries and large-scale events. But will the government give citizens the freedom to roam? Olivia Palamountain reports
As of May 17, UK nationals over the age of 13 who who have had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be able to prove their vaccination status via the NHS app.
Separate from the NHS Covid-19 app (this is used for contact tracing), the NHS app now displays vaccination statuses, as well as medical records that were previously only available on request from GPs. Users can also make doctor’s appointments and request repeat prescriptions.
It is expected that this information will be joined by Covid test results at some point down the line too. Until this happens, the process for booking and presenting test results for travel will remain unchanged (typically paper print outs and email PDFs).
Not only can the app be used as a “vaccine passport” at border controls but for accessing mass events that require proof of Covid status if restrictions remain in place.
No smartphone? No problem. Paper versions of the records will be made available too, via dialling 119. These can be ordered at least five days after receipt of the second dose.
While immunity passes are a great tool in theory, in practice, not much will change for vaccinated travellers just yet. That’s because the countries that currently allow entry on proof of vaccination alone are few and far between, so pre-departure Covid testing (and on arrival) will be still need to be adhered to for the most part.
If you are newly vaccinated, remember that most places that do allow entry on proof of vaccination stipulate that both shots of a government-approved vaccine must have been received at least two weeks before arrival.