nhs vaccine app

NHS app downloads soar after addition of vaccine passport feature

Image credit: Dreamstime

More than 2.7 million more people have downloaded the NHS app after it added a feature that displayed Covid-19 vaccine status.

The feature, which was added on May 17, came ahead of the vaccination programme being opened to younger adults.

Almost 5 million distinct users logged into the app in the last month, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The app – not to be confused with the NHS Covid-19 app used for contact tracing – is one of the first internationally compliant systems in the world to demonstrate vaccine status which allows users to easily show their proof of vaccine, if required for international travel, and has been designed in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) interim guidance.

Users were already able to book GP appointments through the NHS app and access personalised medical services. It was first unveiled in 2018 under then-health secretary Jeremy Hunt as part of ongoing efforts to digitise the NHS.

In addition to the vaccination features, over 51,000 people have registered their organ donation preference via the app since May 17, five times more than in the month of April. In the last month, over 614,000 repeat prescriptions have also been ordered and over 50,000 GP appointments have been booked via the app.

“Technology undoubtedly plays a huge role in how we deliver healthcare now and in the future and it is great to see so many people downloading, using and benefitting from the NHS App,” said health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.

“It is vital we embrace the momentum we have built in using technology and innovation in the health and care sector over the last year as we look beyond the pandemic to improve treatment, care and the experiences of patients.”

Minister for innovation Lord Bethell said: “The NHS app is a fantastic tool that allows people to not only access their Covid-19 vaccine status, but also access NHS services more easily.

“It is great to see over 6 million users now registered on the app and it is a prime example of how technology can make the health service more efficient and easier to access. I encourage those who have not yet done so to download it and see the benefits for yourself.”

In January this year, the information commissioner Elizabeth Denham warned that the imposition of vaccine passports risks compromising data privacy for UK citizens.

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