Government plans to add booster dose to digital NHS Covid Pass, PM pledges

Written by Sam Trendall on 17 November 2021 in News

Boris Johnson tells nation that ‘we will have to adjust our concept of what constitutes a full vaccination’ 

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The government plans to include in the digital NHS Covid Pass recognition of top-up doses of coronavirus vaccines.

Although more than 12 million people have now received a so-called booster dose of an approved Covid vaccine, the documentation, which is available through the NHS app, currently only provides certification of the holder's receipt the initial two doses. 

With the invite for a third jab now extended to everyone aged over 40 who had their second dose at least six months ago, prime minister Boris Johnson said that “it is very clear that… getting your booster will become an important fact [of life]” in the coming weeks and months.

“It will make life easier for you in all sorts of ways,” he added. “We will have to adjust our concept of what constitutes a full vaccination to take account of that and I think that is increasingly obvious.”

Appearing earlier this week at a Downing Street coronavirus press conference, Johnson was asked a question from a member of the public who wanted to know whether the top-up doses would be reflected in the digital vaccine status certification issued to citizens to enable them to travel overseas.

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“We will be making plans to add the booster dose to the NHS Covid Pass,” the PM responded. “The general lesson is… getting fully vaccinated with a booster will make your life easier in all kinds of ways, including for foreign travel. I would say, if you are thinking about [whether or not to get a booster] – this is yet another reason to get it done.”

The NHS Covid Pass is available to those who received two doses of a vaccine in England or Wales. In addition to being displayed via the NHS app, the certification can also be downloaded and displayed as a PDF or printed out, and citizens can also request a letter confirming their vaccine status and providing a secure QR code that can be scanned to verify that they are fully immunised. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own systems through which citizens can prove their vaccine status.

As of the beginning of this month, the UK has agreed with the European Union a system of reciprocal authentication for the NHS Covid Pass and the EU Digital Covid Certificate. Officials at border checkpoints across the union and its one former member – as well as any hospitality venues requiring certification – can now scan travellers’ digital documents.

The agreement also means UK citizens can also use their Covid Pass across the 16 other nations and territories that have been certified by the EU scheme, including Morocco, Iceland, Israel, Norway, and Panama.


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on

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