Thousands of Britons who have received their coronavirus vaccine are set to be offered a health passport as part of a government-funded trial taking place this month. 

The passport, created by biometrics firm iProov and cybersecurity firm Mvine , will be issued in the form of a free app allowing users to digitally prove if they have received the vaccine. 

The trial will be overseen by two directors of public health in local authorities and will be complete in March. However, the locations have yet to be agreed.

Innovate UK, the government’s science and research funding agency, has pumped £75,000 into the project. 

The aim of the trial is to show how the passports can be used to help the NHS keep track of the number of people that have received the first or second dose of the vaccine.

Frank Joshi, director and founder of Mvine, said the company first began working on the passes to demonstrate test results but had since acquired more funding to pivot into vaccination passports.

“The idea is that we are there ready and waiting in the event that we find ourselves interested in a situation where we need to prove something about ourselves,” he said.

“Originally we started off with this need to prove whether you’ve had an antibody test, but it can be equally used to demonstrate whether you’ve been vaccinated.”

Mass vaccination Q&A

Andrew Bud, chief executive of iProov, said that it was “very important” that anything done around vaccinations had to be tied to the NHS.

“We’re talking about a piece of remarkable technology that can be brought to bear and can be readily integrated with the NHS,” he said.

The companies added that if the passports prove successful it could be expanded to millions of people.

To date, the Government has contradicted itself on the use of vaccine passports. In December, Michael Gove said that they were “not the plan” but Nadhim Zahawi, the minister overseeing the rollout of the vaccine, said they were “looking at the technology”.

The trials come as the Ada Lovelace Institute launched an evidence review into the use of vaccination passports. The review, which is being chaired by Sir Jonathan Montgomery, will look at the ethics, science, law, and precedence of such passports.

Some fear the passports could discriminate against people who must not be vaccinated, such as pregnant women, who have been advised to date against taking the vaccine. The NHS has said that more evidence was needed on the jabs before they were offered to pregnant women. As a result women could be restricted from travelling if the passports were to become mandatory. 

United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss International AirLines, and JetBlue, have all said they would begin offering a health passport system to customers this year. BA-owner IAG is also working on its own healthpass that’s due to launch early this year.​