A widespread outage of the NHS app caused chaos earlier this week as travellers were unable to prove their vaccine status at airport and ferry terminals.
A glitch on the app caused the system to go down for 4 hours on Wednesday (13th), meaning many holidaymakers were unable to prove their Covid status and board their flights.
The NHS Covid Pass, when working, enables users to travel overseas by proving their vaccine status, as well as exactly what type of Covid-19 vaccination they have received.
However, travellers should be aware that there are other ways to keep an offline record of their vaccine status, just in case the app shuts down again.
When the app is running, travellers are able to download their digital NHS Covid Pass as PDF and either print it off or save it in their Apple Wallet (if they are an iPhone user). However, the pass will have an expiry date detailed at the bottom, usually 30 days from the day it is downloaded. After the pass expires, travellers simply need to log back into the app and re-download the pass for another 30 days.
Alternatively, travellers who are fully vaccinated can take a screenshot of the two Covid-19 vaccine barcodes presented in the app. It is important to take a screenshot of both barcodes in order to show a full vaccine status. Again, screenshots of barcodes will remain valid for 30 days and users can re-download these after the expiry date.
Holidaymakers are also able to request a paper copy of their vaccine status to use as proof when travelling abroad. However, travellers should allow at least a week for the letter to arrive in the post if they choose this option. They should also be aware that in some cases, travellers may need to wait 5 working days after being fully vaccinated in order for it to show on their records. The paper version has no expiry date and is a good backup option for those who like to carry a hard copy with them.
Our advice would be that travellers ensure they have alternative ways to demonstrate their vaccine status when travelling abroad. The reason being, failure to provide the required documentation when entering or leaving a country, and therefore being refused to leave or enter a destination, is not something that a travel insurance policy would offer cover for. Therefore, in this scenario, travellers may need to pay for a new flight or other costs incurred at their own expense.
For more information on how to get an NHS Covid Pass for travel, click here.