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11 May, 2021 13:35

‘Certification is going to be necessary,’ says Hancock as England’s NHS app set to act as vaccine passport from next week

‘Certification is going to be necessary,’ says Hancock as England’s NHS app set to act as vaccine passport from next week

The UK health secretary has warned that proof of vaccination will be “necessary” for travel as the National Health Service app prepares to relaunch as a vaccine passport from May 17, when the ban on foreign holidays is eased.

The app, which is different to the NHS Covid-19 app that is used for contact tracing, will allow people to show their vaccination status against the virus, a government statement said. 

The NHS app has been in use for years for things such as ordering repeat prescriptions and arranging an appointment to see a doctor. An update will allow people to see their Covid-19 vaccination status from next Monday and will allow those who have had two shots to use the app as a vaccine passport for travel.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News on Tuesday that “certification, being able to show that you’ve had a jab, is going to be necessary for people to be able to travel. 

“So, we want to make sure people can get access to that proof, not least to show governments of other countries that you’ve had the jab if they require that in order to arrive.”

The government said the platform will not show Covid-19 test results, although there are plans to incorporate that into future updates. The statement recommends that people register to use the app at least two weeks before travelling. 

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Those who don’t wish to use the app can request a letter from the health services at least five days after their second jab.

The app will launch when international travel for non-essential reasons becomes legal on May 17, but the government has warned that not all countries will accept such a vaccine passport. “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.” 

From May 17, Britons will be able to go on holiday to ‘green-list’ countries. The limited list of travel destinations includes Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Portugal and a host of British overseas territories such as the Falkland Islands.

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