Confusion about using the NHS app as a Covid passport


Blue badge graphic showing vaccination card

Blue badge graphic showing vaccination card

On Wednesday, Secretary of Transportation Grant Shaps appeared to confirm that the British NHS app would be used as a vaccine passport.

Travel restrictions will be relaxed on May 17, after which you can resume your overseas travel.

But government sources told the BBC that the app wouldn’t be ready “immediately.”

It is connected to the UK GP service and is linked to personal health data.

People can use the NHS app to repeatedly request prescriptions, send messages to doctors, and organize online consultations. It is completely independent of the NHS Covid-19 app used for contact tracing.

The NHS app can already display the status of vaccines, including Covid-19 jabs, which must be enabled by the GP and some seem to do this by default, but in other surgeries the patient I am asking you to request it.

Vaccine Minister Nadim Zahawi told the BBC Breakfast that work is underway to prepare it to function as a passport. This may include access to the latest test results as well as vaccine status.

“NHSx [the NHS’s digital division]… we are working on making it operational on May 17th. “

However, in a statement, the Ministry of Health only states that the app is “considered as part of the digital route.”

Analysis Box by Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent

Analysis Box by Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent

The NHS app, which has been used by around 1 million people since 2019 to book general practitioners and order prescriptions, seems to have happened to provide the government with an immediate solution for creating a vaccine passport. maybe.

Not too fast-there are many hurdles to clear.

The app can record your vaccinations, but it’s not automatic-I wasted a search to find my Covid jab record, but GP access to my detailed health records I received a message that I need to ask. If the NHS app becomes a vaccine passport, millions of people will attack the GP with similar demands.

However, the government has revealed that it wants a broader process of Covid certification, including recent test results. Otherwise, unvaccinated young people will not be able to travel. Integrating tests into your app promises to be complicated.

Finally, there is the process of transforming the NHS app into something that is easy to use and reliable by border guards around the world.

“If people think that passport management can use vaccine records to flash existing apps, that won’t happen,” one insider told me.

Preparing everything by May 17 looks like a big bureaucratic challenge, even if the technology can be updated quickly and efficiently.

Many countries and organizations are proposing their own vaccine passport arrangements.

  • European authorities EU-wide “Green Digital Certificate”.. This allows anyone who has been vaccinated with Covid, or who has tested negative, or who has recently recovered from the virus, to travel within the area.

  • New York has launched a digital wallet style Covid-19 passport. Excelsior Pass..But the White House was excluded Compulsory federal passport..

  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its own app. IATA Travel Pass Tried with Singapore Airlines

  • The UK-based independent healthcare app MyGP launched a simple vaccine certification feature last week in the form of a green checkmark for users 12 days after the second vaccination.

In the UK, Government Minister Michael Gove will update Parliament later today on further developments in vaccine certification.

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