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England’s NHS app ready to become vaccine passport next week

A passenger wearing a respiratory mask speaks on her smartphone by the departures board on January 31, 2020 at Rome's Fiumicino airport. England’s NHS app will be available to use as a vaccine passport from Monday, the government has said - but only for those who have had both doses of the jab. A paper version will also be available - by calling 119 but not through a GP. Both will be available from Monday, 17 May, when the ban on foreign travel is eased. The NHS app is separate to the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact tracing.

People can already use the NHS app to: request repeat prescriptions, arrange appointments to see their doctor, view medical records.

It can also show vaccine statuses, including for coronavirus, but currently this feature must be enabled by a GP before it appears on the app.The new update will contain a separate feature to display coronavirus vaccine records, so the government said there should be no need to contact GPs.The app will not show coronavirus test results, but the NHS plans to incorporate this in the future, the government website said.It advised people register to use the app at least two weeks before travelling.

A paper letter can be requested only at least five days after a second vaccine dose and can take five days to arrive.

Pre-departure test“There are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination,” the government advice warns.“So for the time being, most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test.”The government has announced 12 countries people in England can travel to, without having to quarantine when they return.But not all of these destinations allow UK tourists.For example, travel to mainland Portugal and the Azores is currently for essential purposes only.The list will be reviewed every three weeks.Countries can be added or removed at short notice.

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