UK vaccine passport fixed after glitch panics travelers

A technical issue has been fixed that prevented UK travelers from accessing their NHS COVID Pass to check-in for their flights.

The NHS COVID Pass is also known as the Vaccine Passport.

Users who tried to access proof of COVID-19 vaccination status via the NHS app and website on Thursday found the service unavailable after 3:50pm on 18 August.

“You can not use it”

The Vaccine Passport app told travelers, ‘Sorry, NHS COVID Passes are not currently available’.

“At this time there are no alternative routes to access this information via the NHS app or online. If you have already downloaded the information, access will not be affected.”

NHS Digital, a national provider of information, data and IT systems for UK health services, said in a statement on Twitter: “We apologize for any issues this may cause. We are working to resolve the issue. So please wait for a while.”

Service resumed at 10pm after the technical issue was resolved.

The UK Government has retired the NHS COVID Pass for domestic purposes within the UK as a continuation of its ‘Living with COVID’ strategy. The NHS COVID Pass is the official way to show his COVID-19 vaccination status in England and was used in nightclubs and large events to check people’s vaccination and testing status.

However, people still use it to indicate vaccination status when traveling.

The European Union has made COVID-19 passports available to all EU citizens and residents in July 2021.

Almost all European Union/European Economic Area countries have abolished all immigration rules and allowed all travelers to enter without restrictions.

Only the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Spain continue to require COVID-19 rules for Britons. Now that the UK has left her EU, entrants from third countries must meet certain entry rules such as proof of vaccination, recovery or test certificates upon arrival.


John May, 32, told PA news agency he was supposed to fly from Bristol to Valencia, Spain, at 6am on Friday for a work meeting. He tried to download his vaccination certificate on the NHS app on Thursday and found he was down.

“I have had all three jabs. When I went to the NHS app it said ‘service not available’. I said, “What do you mean, service unavailable?” I have a flight at 6am,” he said.

Mr May said he feared being detained at the Spanish border.

“I got all my vaccinations, but I can’t get my certificate,” he said. “I may arrive in Spain and be deported from Spain. It’s a real shame,” he added.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech, covering a wide range of national stories.