[Article updated November 23 at 11:40]
Third vaccine doses will now appear on England and Wales’ NHS Covid passes, enabling British people to prove their vaccination status when travelling abroad.
After December 15, any over-65s in France who received their second vaccine dose more than six months and five weeks before and who have not yet had their booster will see their health pass invalidated.
No official announcement has been made but this would logically also apply to tourists wanting a health pass in the same age group.
The health pass is needed for entry into a range of public spaces, including restaurants, cafés, bars and museums.
Previously, booster doses administered in the UK did not generate a QR code in the NHS Covid pass app, and so British over-65s – who have thus far been able to upload their UK code to the French TousAntiCovid app – had no way of proving their updated vaccination status.
The change, which came into place on November 19 in England, means that over-65s will once again be viewed as ‘fully vaccinated’ by TousAntiCovid.
It will also allow for travel to countries including Israel, Croatia and Austria, which require booster doses for quarantine-free travel a certain period after the second dose was received.
People who are eligible for the Covid booster in the UK are not required to receive it in order to access the NHS Covid pass, which is required for entry to certain events and some venues in Scotland and Wales.
The UK government added in a statement that “it will also not be necessary to show evidence of a booster for travel into England at this time.” However, it is considering this option, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a press conference on November 15.
UK Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “Getting a booster is the best way you can protect yourself ahead of winter and it’s great [that] those who have come forward can now demonstrate their vaccination status through the NHS Covid pass if they are travelling overseas.”
People will also be able to request a paper copy of their booster dose certificate “in due course.”
Booster QR codes will be available from November 29 in Wales. The proof will be available on Scotland’s Covid pass “as soon as possible,” but the Northern Irish government has not made any announcements on the subject as yet.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, told The Evening Standard that while he welcomed the NHS app feature there was still a “long way to go” to ensure that the travel sector can recover from the pandemic.
“This is a welcome step that will provide further assurance to vaccinated travellers looking to get away,” he said.
“However, we still have a way to go to return to pre-pandemic levels of demand.
“Ensuring travel is as straightforward as possible is vital to the recovery of UK aviation, and so moving quickly to enable travellers to show proof of booster vaccine status if it is required is absolutely the right move.”