NHS Covid Pass to be rolled out to 12- to 15 year-olds

Minister promises documentation will be available via digital and non-digital routes

Credit: Whispyhistory/CC BY-SA 4.0     Image has been cropped

The NHS Covid Pass for travel will shortly be available to children aged from 12 to 15, vaccines minister Maggie Throup has pledged.

The documentation is currently available to all citizens of England and Wales aged 16 and over, who can use the pass to display evidence of being fully vaccinated or having posted a recent negative test. There are two versions of the pass – one that can be used to enable overseas travel, and another for use at events and venues in this country that have chosen to set the provision of the pass as a condition of entry.

The vaccine rollout was extended to everyone aged 12 and upwards in October and Throup, answering a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Peter Kyle, said the availability of the travel version pass will also be broadened in the near future.

“We are looking at ways to provide fully vaccinated 12- to 15-year-olds with a travel NHS Covid Pass, which will be available shortly,” she said. “Further information will be made available in due course, including details of the existing digital or non-digital NHS Covid Pass routes that will initially be available to this group.”

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Currently, a number of countries – such as Thailand and Malta – are not admitting any travellers aged over 12 that cannot provide sufficient proof of full vaccination status. Others, including Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Belgium, require unvaccinated children to quarantine for between five and 10 days upon arrival.

The UK recently announced an agreement with the EU that means the NHS Covid Pass can be recognised throughout the union, as well in more than 20 other countries and territories – including New Zealand, Turkey, and Morocco – that have made similar reciprocity arrangements. 

The agreement means that the UK vaccine-status document can be automatically recognised by scanners at border stations, as well as those used by hospitality venues and events.

The primary means through which citizens can obtain the Covid Pass is the NHS app, which allows the documentation to be displayed digitally or downloaded as a PDF document that can be saved to the user’s device or printed out.

The pass can also be accessed on a desktop computer via the NHS.UK site and those without access to computing devices or internet connectivity can request a letter to be sent to them.

Following an update made two weeks ago, the passes now include details of users’ third, or booster doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

About 20 million citizens have accessed a Covid Pass since their introduction in May.

Scotland and Northern Ireland operate their own vaccine status apps – which are also covered by the EU agreement.


Sam Trendall

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