England still doesn’t automatically recognize Covid vaccines being distributed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, MailOnline can reveal.
Complaints about the matter were first raised last summer when it appeared that shots administered in other British countries were not showing up on the UK’s Covid pass.
At the time, health chiefs insisted they would work to “align” data sharing between countries to stop the chaos that led to some people not being recognized as fully vaccinated.
But people who have moved from one country to another say that their records are still incorrect and that they are in a bureaucratic deadlock as they try to solve the problem.
Experts today called for the issue to be resolved as soon as possible and warned it could cause chaos for people trying to travel in the future.
Boris Johnson has already hinted that three full Covid shots will eventually become the definition of fully vaccinated.
While most countries with vaccine eligibility requirements currently only require Britons to have had two doses of Covid vaccines, this could change in the future. Returning Brits must prove they have been fully vaccinated to avoid having to quarantine for 10 full days.
While vaccine passports are currently in effect for some events and venues in England, there are plans to lift the requirements in the coming weeks.
But it’s unclear if they could make a comeback if the country faced another wave of Covid cases.
People who got some of their three Covid shots in Scotland and who now live in England are stuck in a bureaucratic stalemate of the NHS with no end in sight
NHS England is advising those affected by the problem to apply to resolve the issue via an NHS website designed for people who have been vaccinated ‘abroad’
Covid now kills half as many people a day as a bad year of flu
Daily Covid deaths are currently less than half the expected rate in a bad flu year, MailOnline analysis suggests, as experts claim the UK is finally on the cusp of beating the pandemic.
There are growing calls for No10 to learn to live with Covid rather than focus on stopping the virus from spreading now that there is such a huge difference between infections and deaths.
At present, just 130 people die each day from coronavirus in England at what is considered the peak of the Omicron outbreak, compared to 1,300 last January before vaccines were widely available.
The daily number of deaths has barely increased since the beginning of autumn, despite the fact that the number of infections has more than quadrupled in the same time after the emergence of the ultra-transmissible variant.
By comparison, government estimates show there were more than 400 flu deaths per day at the peak of the last severe flu season in 2017/18, and nearly 300 daily fatalities in the previous year. Like this winter, hospitals were forced to cancel routine surgeries and patients were told to stay away from ED during both outbreaks.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert from the University of East Anglia, said the figures show the burden of Covid is now comparable to the flu. He told MailOnline that Covid would “almost certainly” get weaker every year as people develop natural immunity, eventually becoming a cold that kills only the very vulnerable further down the line.
“Once we get past this Omicron peak — with the exception of another unexpected variant that undoes all our progress — we’ll be close to the point of being endemic,” added Professor Hunter.
It’s unclear how many Brits shocked between countries for their Covid shots.
But the issue could affect thousands of students who have left home to attend college, as well as anyone who may have decided to schedule a walk-in appointment while away.
MailOnline heard of a couple who were fully vaccinated in Scotland and then moved to England where they have had their booster shot ever since.
But NHS England records show they have only one jab, despite already receiving two in Scotland.
When they tried to correct their medical records, they were told to apply through an NHS website designed to recognize on-board vaccinations.
They are now very concerned about whether they will be allowed to travel in the future to see their children, who live abroad, or whether they will face quarantine restrictions upon their arrival or return.
The NHS website allows people to make an in-person appointment at a Covid vaccine center to have their vaccination record matched to the shots they’ve had abroad.
However, the individuals who were originally stabbed in Scotland have been left in the dark due to a lack of appointments.
And while we’re encouraged to “come back later,” there’s still no timeline for a resolution.
It means that until then they would have to show separate evidence of two shots in Scotland and one in England. The couple fears that may not be enough for some authorities.
They said they find the situation “baffling” and cannot understand why the UK is “struggling to recognize vaccines given in Britain”.
Each of the transferred UK countries has its own digital Covid documents that allow people to prove their vaccination status.
However, for people who, through circumstances or chance, have received Covid shots in several UK countries, this means they could face difficulties in proving their vaccination status.
Another example reported by the national detailed a case where someone was stung in both Wales and England, but according to their vaccination record, they received a first dose in both countries.
Similar problems have also been reported for university students who received their first vaccine in Wales and now live in England.
James Lawson, senior fellow of think tank the Adam Smith Institute, said not recognizing jabs delivered in different parts of the UK was “completely unacceptable”.
“The government should allow vaccines from other countries to be recognized immediately, especially if the shots have been dispensed elsewhere in the UK,” he said.
“Vaccine passports are discriminatory and undermine the principle of informed consent.
“So the fact that they’ve been implemented so incompetently just makes it worse. We need to avoid a ‘paper please’ society and find a way back to normalcy.”
While other countries also don’t automatically recognize the jabs handed out in England, the process of correcting the record seems much simpler.
Unlike waiting in England for an in-person appointment, Scots who have been vaccinated in the south of the border just need to call the location where they got their Covid shot and make sure their Scottish postcode is registered with the vaccination .
This, says Scotland’s NHS Inform, can update a person’s vaccination status within days.
Officials insist there is a daily cross-border exchange of information to resolve any issues with vaccination records.
When contacted by MailOnline, a spokesperson for NHS England said: ‘The NHS has set up the Vaccination Data Resolution Service to support people with missing or incorrect vaccination records.
‘People who have problems with their administration should contact 119, or call +44 151 905 0119 if they are abroad, where the staff work hard to resolve all issues as quickly and efficiently as possible.’
The Ministry of Health and Social Care said it was “urgently working” to resolve the issue.
According to the latest government data, just over 36 million Britons have received all three Covid shots.
This corresponds to 62 percent of the over 12s.
Covid vaccines have been credited with vastly reducing the potential severity of the Omicron wave with a MailOnline analysis suggesting that daily deaths from the virus are currently less than half the expected rate in a bad flu year.