NHS Covid Pass: Travellers unable to access vaccine records
The NHS Covid Pass, used to show a person’s vaccine status for travel and events, stopped working on Wednesday.
The feature, contained in the NHS smartphone app, usually allows users to access a barcode or text records about which vaccine doses they have had.
Instead, users are receiving error messages or a notice saying that high traffic volumes are “limiting access to the service”.
NHS Digital said in a statement that is was investigating the issue.
“There are currently issues with accessing the Covid Pass on the NHS App and website,” it said, promising an update “as soon as we can”.
Other elements of the general-purpose NHS app, such as subscriptions, appeared to be working.
Many of the replies to a tweet from NHS Digital were from worried travellers who were not sure they could prove their vaccinated status at airports or other departure points without it – including one person who claimed they missed their flight because of the problem.
It is possible to save an offline version of the Covid Pass, which remains valid for 30 days. Some users simply screenshot their barcode, and iPhone users can also save a version to their Apple Wallet.
But those methods needed to have been done before the system went down.
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The Covid Pass is also required for entry to some events and locations in England, though that has become less common as restrictions have been relaxed at most entertainment venues.
The digital version is available for those over 16 years old who were vaccinated in England, Wales, or the Isle of Man.
A paper version of the pass is also available as a letter for fully-vaccinated people in England. The letter is sent to the address on file with a patient’s local GP surgery, but can take up to five working days to arrive, the NHS says.
The vaccine record in the NHS app is separate to the NHS Covid-19 app, which was widely used earlier in the pandemic to estimate exposure to those who tested positive to the virus, and “pinged” many people with self-isolation alerts.