The NHS COVID Pass is now accepted as equivalent in status to the European Union Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC).
Under an agreement with the European Commission on 29 October, UK citizens can now digitally verify their vaccination status using the EUDCC gateway. On the same date it was agreed that vaccination certificates issued in Armenia will also be accepted.
The two countries also agreed to accept the EUDCC for travel from the EU to their countries.
Vaccination data will not be shared between the EU and UK sharing vaccination data. It is a recognition that both the UK and EU certification systems are robust and secure.
The agreement also provides access to non-EU countries linked to the gateway such as Norway, Switzerland, Israel and Iceland.
WHY IT MATTERS
The EUDCC, which covers COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery, aims to facilitate safe travel for citizens in Europe.
Previously most EU countries accepted the NHS COVID Pass, but only a few were able to scan them.
Under the new agreement it will be easier for UK citizens to get into museums, restaurants and other venues requiring proof of vaccination across the EU.
The deal benefits all UK residents, including those with the NHS COVID Pass (England and Wales) and those with certificates provided by Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Crown Dependencies.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The NHS COVID Pass is available through the NHS App for those vaccinated in England or Wales. It went live for international travel on 17 May 2021 and the digital pass is now recognised by more than 80 countries and territories.
Since August, EU residents with recognised vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson) have been able to travel to the UK quarantine-free, in addition to vaccinated UK residents returning from the EU.
A recent European Commission report said that more than 591 million EUDCCs have now been generated.
As well as facilitating safe travel, the certificates are being used in 20 EU members states for domestic purposes, such as accessing large events, restaurants, cinemas and museums.
ON THE RECORD
Matthew Gould, CEO of NHSX, which is leading the NHS COVID Pass Programme, said: “The UK was one of the first countries to launch a digital pass solution, and the NHS COVID Pass is already recognised by over 80 countries and territories across the world.
“This news will add yet more countries to that list, simplifying international travel for COVID Pass users and enabling digital verification across Europe and beyond.”
EU commissioner for justice, Didier Reynders, said: “Safer travel is a reality thanks to the EUDCC, which is now the leading global standard: 45 countries in four continents are connected to the system, and more will follow in the coming weeks and months. We are open to other countries to join our system.”