Minister confirms documentation will be available via the app and NHS.UK website
A digital version of the NHS Covid Pass will this week be made available to 12- to 15-year-olds across England for the first time.
The documentation allows pass-holders to provide proof of vaccination doses, a negative test posted within the prior 48 hours, or a positive PCR test within the previous six months.
The coronavirus vaccine programme was expanded to include everyone aged 12 and upwards in October. But it was two months until under-16s were able to obtain a “travel letter” indicating proof of vaccination.
The NHS App has been the primary means through which citizens across England and Wales have obtained the Covid Pass. More than 20 million new users have downloaded the program since it was announced that it would offer access to the vaccine passport. The app allows for passes to be displayed digitally, or downloaded as a PDF that can be accessed or printed offline.
Until now, however, the document has not been available to 12- to 15-year-olds in any digital form.
This will change on Thursday 3 February, when the international version of the NHS Covid Pass will be available via the NHS App for all eligible users – which includes everyone aged 13 and upwards and registered with a GP in England or the Isle of Man.
The passes will also be available via the NHS.UK website – including to 12-year-olds who are not yet permitted to sign up for the app.
The lack of digital documentation for children has caused consternation for families planning to travel abroad, with a number of parents having contacted PublicTechnology in recent weeks to express concern about upcoming trips – in particular during the upcoming half-term break, which begins for most schools on 11 February.
Coronavirus restrictions vary by country, but some nations currently do not admit any travellers aged 12 and over that cannot provide evidence of full vaccination, while others require unvaccinated children to quarantine for up to 10 days following arrival.
Vaccines minister Maggie Throup confirmed the introduction of digital documents for vaccinated children in answer to a written parliamentary question from fellow Conservative MP Stephen Hammond, who asked the Department of Health and Social Care “what steps it is taking to facilitate the rollout of the international NHS Covid pass to 12-15 year-olds before half term in February 2022”.