Tens of thousands of volunteers have been forced to put their summer holidays on hold after the NHS’s computer system refused to recognise their Covid vaccination trial jabs.
As many as 40,000 volunteers have been told by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer that the NHS’s system will not accept proof that they have taken part in a clinical trial for several more weeks.
That has left many unwilling to risk booking a holiday – even if they have had two jabs – because a green tick will not yet have appeared on their vaccine passport.
NHS officials have refused to guarantee a date by which this will be done, leaving many hopeful travellers frustrated.
One volunteer who took part in the trial of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Barts Hospital, in central London, told The Telegraph: “I was just trying to do the right thing in helping to trial a vaccine at a time when the drugs were experimental and I was putting my own health at risk for the good of others.
‘Kick in the teeth’
“But it feels like a kick in the teeth that the thanks that I get is not being able to go on holiday because the NHS computer says no. Surely it would not have been impossible in the six months since I had my second jab for someone to simply enter my details onto a separate IT system?”
The volunteer added: “I am sure that thousands of other volunteers feel like me that their much needed holidays are on hold.
“Although the NHS has promised that it will be sorted by the end of this month, I cannot even book a trip abroad until I can see a green tick on my vaccine passport as officials have not guaranteed a date by which it will be fixed, and I would risk wasting thousands of pounds on a holiday I can’t go on – even though I have had two doses of the Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine and have been double jabbed since February.”
Officials at Barts NHS have confirmed that the information has not yet been entered onto NHS systems, which means that volunteers can only get a letter of vaccine confirmation for internal events, such as sporting occasions, and not international travel.
Volunteers have pointed out that some countries, including France, have only been letting people with vaccine passports in for months, putting them at a significant disadvantage.
Whitehall officials say the problem cannot be fixed for a few more weeks.