The UK Health Security Agency has provided information to help people fully understand the use and value of the NHS COVID Pass letter. 

The NHS COVID Pass letter is a document that serves as proof of vaccination, COVID-19 testing, and proof of recovery. Vaccination and recovery are the only two known ways of gaining immunity against the disease as of now.

The letter is important because vaccination and recovery certificates may grant you access to venues, events, and other countries in case that you travel for non-essential reasons (usually tourism). 

The NHS COVID Pass can also simplify your return to the United Kingdom if you travel abroad. 

The pass is usually available one to five days after you have your first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United Kingdom, or after you finish your quarantine after taking a PCR test with a positive result. The NHS COVID Pass is available up to 180 days after that test, provided that you don’t live in the Isle of Man (it is not available there). 

So what does the NHS COVID Pass letter shows?

On top of the front of the letter, you can find your unique reference (which looks like a barcode and is only related to you), and some basic information such as your name, your address, your date of birth, and the date in which the letter was issued. 

After this, there should be some information about the vaccines against COVID-19 that you received:

  • The date on which you took the first and the second dose (or only the first if you’re not fully vaccinated or if you had a single shot vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s). 
  • The name of the vaccine product (for example, Jenssen) and the vaccine manufacturer (following the previous example, this would be Johnson & Johnson). 
  • Batch number of the vaccine.
  • Country of vaccination (Great Britain) and the administering center in charge of the shots. If you got vaccinated overseas, you can tell the NHS about it so that it can add that dose to your NHS COVID Pass and update your vaccination status. The only requirement is that you book an appointment with the NHS to present clear evidence of this vaccination. 

At the bottom of the front part of the letter, there is a reminder of where to find additional information about COVID-19 disease and the data protection policy. 

In this case, the data is controlled by the Department of Health and Social Care of the United Kingdom (DHSC), which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018 and the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). There is a privacy notice published on the UK government official website that you can always consult if you’re concerned about your personal information.

On the back of the letter, you should see a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that clarifies:

  • When and where you should be ready to show your NHS COVID Pass (venues, crowded events, and borders).
  • What you should do if you lose your NHS COVID Pass (basically, call 119). 
  • What you can do if you can’t carry your NHS COVID Pass in a paper: you can download the NHS App on iOS and Android and use it to access your NHS COVID Pass in a digital format. The app is not available for people residing in Wales.
  • Accessibility options: you can ask for an NHS COVID Pass in large type or braille by calling 119 free of charge at any time.

Alternatively, you can ask for the NHS COVID Pass in another language but you should always keep the English version with you. 

Anyone over 16 years old can and should have an NHS COVID Pass, especially if they plan to travel abroad soon. Only people over 18 years old can use it to enter domestic events and venues as well. 

The NHS COVID Pass is valid for a month if you’re vaccinated and it refreshes if you log in again. The same thing happens if you’ve been sick with COVID-19 (meaning that you got a positive PCR test). If you’re using an NHS COVID Pass to prove a negative PCR test or a rapid lateral flow test, the pass will be valid for only 48 hours instead.

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