The final stages of planning are underway to provide island residents with access to their COVID vaccination certification for travel, via the UK NHS App.
As Gef has highlighted several times in recent weeks, the NHS App will be the only electronic vaccination status certificate supported by Manx gov which is expected to be internationally recognised for residents.
The development has been progressed by gov’s COVID Response team to ensure Island residents can demonstrate they have completed the two dose course of vaccination when travelling abroad. The app is also intended for use at ports of entry to the Isle of Man, in line with proposed changes to the Island’s border restrictions.
The DHSC via Manx Care, will share all vaccination data with NHS UK for its sole and specific use on the NHS App, therefore not for any other purpose. Once the data is received, residents will be able to view their vaccination certificate in digital format on the app, or obtain a hard copy letter if required. Residents who do not wish to participate will be able to opt-out of the process, and further details on this will be released shortly.
Residents are strongly encouraged to use the electronic vaccination certification as the primary method to support international travel, but those who are unable to do so can request evidence of their vaccination status in letter form, prior to travel.
Residents will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad, which may include providing a negative pre-departure test. Anyone travelling abroad should check the entry requirements of their destination country on the GOV.UK foreign travel advice pages.
Minister for Health and Social care David Ashford said: ’This is positive news for the many people who are anxious to have their vaccination status held in a recognised and secure digital format. Linking into the UK NHS App puts us in a strong position, as it is expected to be widely recognised and accepted. Creating our own system would be less practical, more costly, and in terms of securing recognition among other jurisdictions, very challenging. There is still some work to do in relation to the final implementation, but we are keen to share our plans at this stage. We will provide further details as soon as possible.’
Information will be added to the gov’s COVID-19 Vaccination website pages and in due course, further guidance will be available from the COVID Community Support team.
Island residents are already able to download the UK NHS App. Individuals will need to validate their identity using photographic ID and also provide their NHS number as part of the registration process. The NHS number is on each person’s NHS record card, issued when registering with a GP practice.
The NHS number is also used to register for Patient Access, a free, digital web-based facility which offers Isle of Man patients remote access to their GP records. An additional benefit is that the NHS App also acts as a viewing portal for individuals to see their health information held by GPs. This is only available for those registered for electronic Patient Access.
Residents’ vaccination certificate on the NHS App has no connection to any other database or data collection exercise in the UK. Opting out will be a straightforward process, either from the beginning, or in the future should an individual wish to withdraw.
Guidance on how people will be able to access their COVID-19 vaccination status is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad