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NHS App; The UK's Covid Travel Passport Plans

Government officials have given insight into plans for vaccine passports; international travel from the UK to resume for the summer


The UK Government have now confirmed that an NHS app will be needed for those seeking travel abroad this summer, in order to show proof that they have been vaccinated or at least tested negative against the coronavirus. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed earlier in the week the Covid travel passport plans, confirming that an NHS app will be used as a vaccine passport. The Government previously said that international travel would not resume before May 17, the British government seem to be making steps towards a more readily available option for international travel although this may take some time as a government source told the BBC the app would not be ready "imminently".


Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Breakfast that work was under way on preparing for the NHS app to act as a passport - this could involve it having access to not only vaccine status, but also to most recent test results.


"NHSx [the NHS's digital division]...are working on making that operationally possible for the 17th of May," he said.


The UK Government have now confirmed that an NHS app will be needed for those seeking travel abroad this summer, in order to show proof that they have been vaccinated or at least tested negative against the coronavirus. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed earlier in the week the Covid travel passport plans, confirming that an NHS app will be used as a vaccine passport. The Government previously said that international travel would not resume before May 17, the British government seem to be making steps towards a more readily available option for international travel although this may take some time as a government source told the BBC the app would not be ready "imminently".

Government sources have clarified that the app needed for the Covid travel passport wouldn't be the same one that's used for contact tracing and checking into venues such as pubs and restaurants, but will be the same one that is used for booking general appointments. This NHS app is already able to display vaccine statuses, including Covid-19 jabs, although this must be enabled by GPs, and while some seem to do this by default, other surgeries ask patients to request it which may take longer. The main NHS app is connected to GP services in England and linked to personal health data, and is completely separate from the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact-tracing.


When speaking to Sky news the transport secretary said: "It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you've had a vaccine or that you've had testing”. "I'm working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised."

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Breakfast that work was under way on preparing for the NHS app to act as a vaccine passport, which would likely involve the platform having access to both vaccine status and most recent test results. Zahawi went on to state that "NHSx [the NHS's digital division]...are working on making that operationally possible for the 17th of May”. A later statement by the Department of Health and Social Care said that the app was "being considered as part of the digital route".


The Tory Cabinet minister also revealed that a traffic light system would be used for different holiday destinations, Shapps added "In the next couple of weeks, I'll be able to tell you about which countries will have made it into the traffic light system and that 'green' list in particular are the countries where you'll be able to go to without needing to quarantine on your return”.


"You will still need to take a pre-departure test and one test on your return.

"I think people are getting very used to testing now, not least because we provide testing up to twice a week for everyone in the country right now. So I don't think a test itself is a big deal." Said the transport secretary.


What do you think about vaccine passports? Will you be travelling abroad this summer? Let us know in the comments or on LinkedIn!

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