The government intends to offer 12- to 15-year-olds digital means of accessing an NHS Covid Pass sometime in “early 2022”, a minister has pledged.Coronavirus vaccinations have been available to everyone aged 12 and upwards since October. Since 13 December, those aged between 12 and 15 have been able to request “an NHS Covid Pass travel letter”, according to vaccines minister Maggie Throup.The minister last month pledged options using both “existing digital [and] non-digital NHS Covid Pass routes… will be available" to the latest and youngest cohort to be offered the vaccine.
The NHS app has been the primary means though which the Covid Pass has been delivered to older users, with the software having been downloaded more than 20 million times since it was announced that it would be used for the delivery of the vaccine passport.
Thus far, neither the app – which is available to everyone aged over 13 and registered with a GP – nor any other digital option to display the Covid Pass has been offered to 12- to 15-year-olds.A date has not been set for the delivery of such an option, but Throup – answering a written parliamentary question from fellow Conservative MP Peter Gibson – indicated that it will be sometime in the opening weeks of this year.“We are working on a digital solution for 12- to 15-year-olds to access their NHS Covid Pass by early 2022,” she said.Currently, a number of countries are not admitting any travellers aged over 12 that cannot provide sufficient proof of full vaccination status, while other nations 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.