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UK to launch digital vaccine 'passport'

From May 17 residents of England will be able to upload vaccination details to a vaccine passport.

The United Kingdom government will be launching a digital vaccine ‘passport’ on Monday. From May 17, residents of England will be able to use their National Health Service app as a vaccine passport once they have received both jabs. A paper certificate displaying their vaccinated status will also be available.

The NHS app is already in existence and is separate to the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app which was launched last year. The NHS app is currently used for requesting repeat prescriptions, arranging GP appointments or to view medical records.

A user can activate their coronavirus vaccine status on the app once they have received both jabs by contacting their GP, who will be able to enable the feature. It is advised that users register to use the vaccine feature at least two weeks before travel.

A paper letter can also be requested by calling 119 at least five days after the second jab. The letter can take up to five days to arrive.

The app cannot display coronavirus test results, but the NHS says it's working on this feature and plans to incorporate it soon.

The International Air Transport Association has been developing its own digital travel pass which is currently being trialled by a number of airlines worldwide. It's understood that IATA has been in discussions with the UK government to ensure compatibility and that data can be read from the NHS app.

According to a UK government spokesperson, around 20 countries are now easing testing and/or quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers.

The UK has vaccinated more than 35 million residents with a first dose while 18 million people have received both vaccine doses. Approved vaccines in the UK include Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca and Moderna. Yesterday England, Scotland and Northern Ireland all recorded zero Covid deaths and the United Kingdom now has the lowest rate of daily deaths of any major European country.

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