COVID passports in the United Kingdom

Last updated

Trials to assess the effectiveness of an immunity passport scheme, also known as a COVID passport or COVID certification scheme, were confirmed by the UK government on 3 April 2021 as a way of helping to restart public events in England during the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made following much discussion and speculation about the idea by politicians and in the British media. The government announced that trials of a scheme for England would begin on 16 April, starting with a comedy evening in Liverpool.[ citation needed ]



The idea of some kind of immunity or vaccine passport was first mentioned in February 2021, when the Greek Prime Minister said his country would welcome British holidaymakers who had been vaccinated. The UK government ruled out the idea of issuing a vaccine passports for those who had been vaccinated. [1] On 23 February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a review into the idea of vaccine passports to allow people to go on holiday and into venues, describing the proposal as having "deep and complex issues". [2] On 25 March, Johnson said an update on proposals would be given in April, but suggests it may not be possible to introduce such a scheme until every adult in the UK has been offered a vaccine. [3]

On 2 April 2021, The Daily Telegraph reported that COVID passports would be trialled at a series of venues to test their use, prompting a group of more than 70 MPs from across the political spectrum to voice their opposition to the idea. The group, which included Jeremy Corbyn, a former leader of the Labour Party and Iain Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party, describing it as "dangerous, discriminatory and counterproductive". In response the UK government said that no decisions had been made as regards the idea. [4]

On 3 April the government confirmed that a COVID passport system would be trialled as a way of enabling large events, such as sports and music events, to restart. The first trial was announced to take place at a comedy evening at Liverpool's Hot Water Comedy Club on 16 April and continue at other events in England through to mid-May. [5] The government subsequently confirmed that any such scheme would be time limited. [6]

A 2021 FA Cup Semi-Final match on 18 April, the 2021 EFL Cup Final on 25 April and the 2021 FA Cup Final on 15 May were also announced as potential candidates for trialling the scheme. [7] The passport, a certificate, would be issued upon the supply of information including whether a person has been vaccinated, any recent negative test, or natural immunity through recent positive test. [5]

On 11 May 2021, the UK government announced that from 17 May people in England who had received both COVID vaccines would be able to use the NHS app as a vaccine passport; a paper version would also be available by calling 119. [8]

In May 2021, a scheme in Scotland was unveiled that allows people to download a certificate giving details of their vaccination status from the NHS Scotland website. [9] The document is intended for anyone planning to travel overseas, and people were advised to download it 21 days before travelling. On 22 May it was reported that a security flaw in the software would allow people to edit their vaccination status by using popular computer programs. The Scottish Government said it was working to rectify the situation. [10] On 1 September 2021, it was announced that vaccine passports would be required for entry to nightclubs and many large events in Scotland. [11]

There has been some investigation into the possible impact that vaccine passports may have in the UK. This evidence shows that vaccine passports may lower inclination to vaccinate and may discriminate against certain socio-demographic groups. [12] [13]

NHS pass

An NHS covid pass exists in England, [14] Scotland, [15] and Wales. [16]

The Department of Health has introduced an automated method for Northern Irish citizens who have received both their COVID-19 vaccinations in Northern Ireland to apply for COVID vaccination certification. [17]

Related Research Articles

International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis International certificate of vaccination

The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), also known as the Carte Jaune or Yellow Card, is an official vaccination report created by the World Health Organization (WHO). As a travel document, it is a kind of medical passport that is recognised internationally and may be required for entry to certain countries where there are increased health risks for travellers.

COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in the UK

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019. The virus reached the UK in late January 2020. As of 21 September 2021, there had been nearly 7.5 million confirmed cases and 135,455 deaths among people who had recently tested positive – the world's 22nd highest death rate by population and the second-highest death toll in Europe after Russia. There has been some disparity between the outbreak's severity in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – health-care in the UK is a devolved matter. Each constituent country has its own publicly-funded healthcare system operated by devolved governments.

British government response to the COVID-19 pandemic UK government response to COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, Her Majesty's Government have enacted various public health and economic responses to mitigate its impact. Devolution has meant that the four nations' administrative responses to the pandemic have differed; the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive have produced different policies to those that apply in England. Numerous laws have been introduced throughout the crisis.

Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Viral vector vaccine for prevention of COVID-19 by Oxford University and AstraZeneca

The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, and sold under the brand names Covishield and Vaxzevria among others, is a viral vector vaccine for prevention of COVID-19. Developed in the United Kingdom by the Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, it is given by intramuscular injection, using as a vector the modified chimpanzee adenovirus ChAdOx1. Studies carried out in 2020 showed that the efficacy of the vaccine is 76.0% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 beginning at 22 days following the first dose and 81.3% after the second dose. A study in Scotland found that, for symptomatic COVID-19 infection after the second dose, the vaccine is 81% effective against the Alpha variant, and 61% against the Delta variant.

Vaccination requirements for international travel are the aspect of vaccination policy that concerns the movement of people across borders. Countries around the world require travellers departing to other countries, or arriving from other countries, to be vaccinated against certain infectious diseases in order to prevent epidemics. At border checks, these travellers are required to show proof of vaccination against specific diseases; the most widely used vaccination record is the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis.

COVID-19 vaccination in the United Kingdom Immunisation against COVID-19

The COVID-19 vaccination programme in the United Kingdom is an ongoing mass immunisation campaign for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. The UK's vaccination rollout was the world's first mass immunisation programme for the disease when it began on 8 December 2020 after Margaret Keenan received her first dose of two. As of 29 September 2021, 48,829,118 first doses and 44,867,373 second doses of a vaccine had been administered across the UK.

Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom (January–June 2021) Daily UK events related to the pandemic in 2021

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom from January 2021 to June 2021.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in England during 2021. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland during 2021. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales during 2021. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland during 2021. There are significant differences in the legislation and the reporting between the countries of the UK: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

COVID-19 vaccination in Israel

Israel's COVID-19 vaccination programme, officially named "Give a Shoulder", began on 19 December 2020, and has been praised for its speed, having given twenty percent of the Israeli population the first dose of the vaccines' two dose regimen in the span of three weeks.

COVID-19 vaccination in India Immunisation programme against COVID-19 in India

India began administration of COVID-19 vaccines on 16 January 2021. As of 6 October 2021, India has administered over 921 million doses overall, including first and second doses of the currently-approved vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccination in the United States Plan to immunize against COVID-19

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the United States is an ongoing mass immunization campaign for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first granted emergency use authorization to the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine on December 10, 2020; mass vaccinations began on December 14, 2020. The Moderna vaccine was granted emergency use authorization on December 17, 2020, and the Janssen vaccine was granted emergency use authorization on February 27, 2021. By April 19, 2021, all U.S. states had opened vaccine eligibility to residents aged 16 and over. On May 10, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15. On August 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine for individuals aged 16 and over.

Various kinds of software have been developed and used for mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic. These include mobile apps for contact tracing and notifications about infection risks, digital passports verifying one's vaccination status, software for enabling – or improving the effectiveness of – lockdowns and social distancing in general, Web software for the creation of related information services, and software for the research and development for COVID-19 mitigation.

COVID-19 vaccine card Medical record for COVID-19 vaccination

A COVID-19 vaccine card is a record often given to those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine showing information such as the date(s) one has received the shot(s) and the brand of vaccine one has received, sometimes including the lot number. The card also contains information identifying the recipient and the location where the shot was given. Depending on the country, it could serve as an official document verifying one has received vaccination, which could be required by some institutions, such as a school or workplace, when boarding a cruise ship, or when crossing an international border, as proof that one has been vaccinated.

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom from July 2021 to present.

COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and hesitancy Misinformation regarding the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and the resulting hesitancy towards it

Anti-vaccination activists and other people in multiple countries have spread a variety of unfounded conspiracy theories based on misunderstood science, religion, and other factors. Theories including overblown claims about side effects, a story about COVID-19 being spread by childhood vaccines, misrepresentations about how the immune system works, and when and how COVID-19 vaccines are made have proliferated among masses making them averse to vaccination. This has led to governments around the world introducing measures to encourage vaccination, which has in turn led to further misinformation about the legality and effect of these measures themselves.

Vaccine passports during the COVID-19 pandemic Use of immunity passports for COVID-19 vaccination

A vaccine passport or proof of vaccination are immunity passports which have been employed as a credential in a number of countries and jurisdictions as part of efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic via vaccination. They are typically issued by a government or health authority, and have consisted of a scannable barcode, QR code or are accessible in paper form or as part of a mobile app. They may or may not use a COVID-19 vaccine card as a basis of authentication.

United Kingdom responses to the COVID-19 pandemic Actions by the United Kingdom regarding the COVID-19 pandemic

The United Kingdom's response to the COVID-19 pandemic with consists of various measures by the national health services community; the British and devolved governments; the military; and the research sector.


  1. "Covid: Minister rules out vaccine passports in UK". BBC News. 7 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  2. "Covid-19: PM promises review on issues of vaccine passports". BBC News. 23 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  3. "Covid: Jab passports possible 'after all offered vaccine'". BBC News. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  4. "Coronavirus: Dozens of MPs criticise 'divisive' Covid passports". BBC News. 2 April 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  5. 1 2 "Covid passport trials begin with live comedy night". 3 April 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2021 via
  6. "Covid: Passports showing vaccine status would be time-limited, says minister". BBC News. 4 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  7. "Carabao Cup final to have 8,000 fans". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  8. "NHS app ready to become vaccine passport next week". BBC News. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  9. "Covid in Scotland: Vaccine certificates for those travelling abroad". BBC News. 19 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  10. "Covid vaccination certificates hit by security glitch". BBC News. 22 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  11. "Scots to need vaccine passports for large events". BBC News. 1 September 2021. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  12. de Figueiredo A, Larson HJ, Reicher S (September 2021). "The potential impact of vaccine passports on inclination to accept COVID-19 vaccinations in the United Kingdom: evidence from a large cross-sectional survey and modelling study". EClinicalMedicine. 39. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.101109 .
  13. Porat T, Burnell R, Calvo RA, Ford E, Paudyal P, Baxter WL, Parush A (August 2021). ""Vaccine Passports" may backfire: findings from a cross-sectional study in the UK and Israel on willingness to get vaccinated against Covid-19". Vaccines. 9 (8): 902. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9080902 .
  14. "NHS COVID Pass". 21 June 2021.
  15. "Get a record of your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status".
  16. "NHS COVID Pass: prove your vaccination status". GOV.WALES.
  17. "Coronavirus (COVID-19): COVID certificate for NI residents | nidirect". 15 July 2021.