NHS app could be Covid-19 vaccine 'immunity passport' allowing return to normal

The NHS Test and Trace app could be used as a ‘Covid-19 passport’ – allowing people who have been vaccinated to return to ‘normal life’, it has been reported.

It could mean being vaccinated against the coronavirus could become a condition of travel on airlines..

Test and Trace chief Dido Harding said her team was looking into combining vaccine status with results from mass rapid testing in the app, according to the Times.

She told an event hosted by the Health Service Journal: “We are working very closely with the vaccine team to make sure that as we build tools that will enable people to be testing themselves at home and recording the results of their tests that we build an integrated data architecture.”

She said the hope was that “in the future to be able to have a single record as a citizen of your test results and whether you’ve been vaccinated”.

Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have long suggested the idea of a ‘freedom pass’, which would allow people to return to normal if they’re vaccinated or have tested negative.

Test and Trace chief Dido Harding

The Government yesterday announced it had secured a further 2m doses of the Moderna vaccine, which trials suggest is 95% effective.

The vaccine has yet to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), but doses could begin being delivered next spring if it meets the standards.

Asked about the different efficacy rates for the different vaccines, Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said he would he happy to have any vaccine that has been approved.

He told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC: “I would personally be happy to have any vaccine that’s been through the regulatory scrutiny that these trials are currently undergoing. If my GP rings me and says I’ve got an approved vaccine I really don’t care which one it is.”

He said he would be surprised if a vaccine was available by next week, but that there could be “an announcement” within the next fortnight.

He said: “We’ll have to wait and see. Mustn’t be rushed, it has to be safe.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Every week, we are getting more positive news about the range of vaccines in development, and thanks to the work of our taskforce the UK has pre-ordered more hundreds of millions of doses from those companies most advanced in their work.

“This includes buying a further two million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, on top of the five million we’ve already secured.

“With a wide range of vaccine candidates in our portfolio, we stand ready to deploy a vaccine should they receive approval from our medicines regulator, starting with those who will benefit most.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma added: “It is essential that we continue to bolster our portfolio of vaccine candidates to ensure we’re in the best possible position to protect the public once we see that breakthrough.

“The UK was one of the first countries in Europe to sign a deal with Moderna, and I’m delighted we have been able to secure a further two million doses of their promising candidate for the British public.”

And Kate Bingham, who chairs the Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, said: “Since its inception in June, one of the most important stated aims of the Vaccines Taskforce has been to secure access to the most promising vaccines across a broad range of technologies – thereby increasing the chances of having a safe and effective prevention as soon as possible against Covid 19.

“Moderna’s vaccine was an important addition to our portfolio and securing an additional two million doses further adds to the protection we can provide to the public to end the pandemic.”


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