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(Pocket-lint) - The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that the NHS App will be able to show your COVID-19 vaccination status and allow you to prove that you've had a full course.

Vaccine passports have been something of a political hot potato, opening the door to potential discrimination from all sorts of angles, with many questions about who might need a vaccine passport, where and when.

How we at least have some information about the mechanism that the UK Government is going to use to allow you to demonstrate that you've "had the jab".

The NHS App is available for Android and iPhone devices and this is a separate app to the NHS-COVID19 app, which was designed for contact tracing.

Instead, the NHS App is a portal to digital services through the NHS: it's free, so if you have a smartphone you'll be able to get access to it, but your vaccine status will only show once you've had both parts of the vaccine course with the scheme designed to run from 17 May.

The NHS App's primary role is to give you app access to some NHS services: it will allow you to view your health record, to order repeat prescriptions and keep track of medication or appointments, assuming your healthcare provider is also using the app.

Getting access to the app isn't the most straightforward. You have to download it and install it, but then you'll need to sign in using your NHS login. You may not have one of these, but if you've registered for NHS digital services before, you probably do.

Once you've logged in, you have to verify your phone number and then your identity. For this you'll need to upload an accepted form of ID like an image of a driving license or passport and go through an identity verification. Once completed this will give you access to the app.

That's not the end of the process, because your GP surgery will have to grant access to your medical records through the app - which might need you to ring the surgery (or tap a request link in the app like we did), before you get access to any sensitive information.

It's worth pointing out that so far there's no one who will accept this as a form of evidence, but we're perhaps a little early in the cycle of having meet proof of vaccine requirements.

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Outside of the NHS App, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that you'll be able to apply for a paper copy by ringing 119 and have that sent to you.

It's expected that this functionality will be extended to cover all UK countries in the near future, although it's initially confirmed for England.

Exactly how vaccination status might be demonstrated or used in the future remains unknown and there's a good chance that international schemes become more practical, such as the IATA (International Air Transport Association) Travel Pass which aims to have a central system for airline travel.

Writing by Chris Hall.
  • Source: Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status when travelling abroad - gov.uk
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