The Covid travel pass will be rolled out for 12-15 year olds
An NHS Covid pass for travel will soon be made available to fully vaccinated 12-15 year olds, I has learned.
Parents have complained about the disruption of the holidays as countries like Spain, Germany and Malta require proof that anyone over the age of 12 has received both vaccines to enter. The NHS Covid pass app is only available to people aged 16 and over.
And in Italy, Austria, France and Canada, a vaccination pass is required to access public spaces, which often include reception areas – and in some cases ski lifts.
The new document, which will initially be delivered in the form of a letter, will allow those under 16 to eventually prove their vaccination status for international travel.
But ministers and officials have yet to identify a date when the new Covid passes for children will be available, I understands – casting doubt on whether they will be ready in time for the Christmas holidays.
Number 10 wants the change to happen as soon as possible to avoid ruining the family vacation, but health ministry officials are still working on the project.
Stephen Smith struggled to provide Covid status for his 12-year-old daughter, who received a dose of the Pfizer vaccine and recently recovered from the virus, for a trip abroad.
He said I: “This is great news that is long overdue, although it looks like it won’t be a digital solution initially. As long as the promised letter includes a QR code that can be read in Europe, that would be great news for families who would no longer be barred from traveling to Europe once their children have been vaccinated.
The NHS Digital team sent Mr Smith a letter saying: ‘The government is exploring ways to provide fully immunized children aged 12 to 15 with an NHS Covid pass. This will be available soon, initially via an NHS Covid Pass travel letter. More information will be available online.
I understands that the letter will initially only be available in hard copy and will not be contained with the NHS Covid app.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said I: “We are exploring ways to enable children aged 12 to 15 to demonstrate their immunization status during international travel. “
Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) recommended that 12 to 15 year olds receive a second dose of the Covid jab.
More than one million children in this age group have received a single dose of the vaccine with around three million eligible, according to the NHS.
The deployment of the first doses began in September and children aged 12 to 15 can receive their second dose 12 weeks after the first.
Some vulnerable children in this age group have already been cleared for two doses.
Those over 12 have been eligible for second doses for some time in other European countries.
Despite having been doubly vaccinated against Covid, Stefan Micallef’s 13-year-old daughter could not prove her status to travel via the NHS
“My daughter was doubly vaccinated because she had priority because she has special needs [Williams Syndrome]. However, in England the NHS would not issue a Covid certificate or pass.
“We wanted to go to Malta because her grandmother lives there. It was important because my mother is 91 years old, she lives in a house, she had a stroke a few years ago, she has recovered quite well but you are on borrowed time so to speak. She had not seen her since the summer before the outbreak of the Covid. And essentially, the rule in Malta was that anyone 12 years of age and over must have a certificate.
“How did we solve the problem? Thank goodness we are Europeans. What my wife did, being French she took all the information we got from the GP, our NHS clinic, we gave them all the proof of my daughter’s vaccination and they issued an EU certificate.
“It is totally discrimination, discrimination on the basis of age, because that is what it is, and to a certain extent, giving the possibility to a disabled person, to a child to be doubly vaccinated, but then you do not issue it or do not issue it with the pass necessary to enjoy the fruits of their vaccination.