England's NHS app to be used as vaccine passport from next week

The COVID-19 vaccine with the word COVID-19 in the background

According to a report by BBC News, the NHS app in England (not the contact tracing app) will, from next Monday, double up as a COVID-19 vaccine passport for those who have received both doses of the vaccine. For those without a mobile phone, a paper version of the passports will be available to those who call 119.

The NHS app is already available to download and has been available for a while for those who want to request a repeat prescription, arrange an appointment with a doctor, or view medical records. Individual GP surgeries will have to enable the vaccine passport service for their members but once that’s done it can be used to verify that you’ve been vaccinated.

While the government hopes the vaccine passport will speed up the screening process for foreign travel, it could be a while before destinations accept them in place of taking a test. Admitting this, the government is quoted as saying:

“There are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination. So for the time being, most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test.”

As things stand, the main use case for vaccine passports is to expedite foreign travel. It’s unclear if the use of the passport will be extended to other areas of society such as going to the cinema or sports venues but as those begin to open up the issue will have to be addressed.

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