People who have been double jabbed face missing out on holidays abroad because NHS errors mean their second vaccination has not been recorded.
A Telegraph investigation has found that a number of people who have had two doses say they have no official proof, despite repeated efforts to resolve problems with NHS records.
Health officials said errors could happen if vaccine centre staff failed to press a final “save” after inputting data, or if fields were not filled in correctly.
They urged anyone affected to contact their GP, regardless of where their vaccine had been administered.
Several patients said they had done so but to no avail, and been “fobbed off” or left going around in circles, with GPs warning of delays correcting records “due to the large volume of similar requests we are receiving”.
Patients have spoken up after repeatedly contacting officials and GPs, providing record cards showing the batch number and date of administration, and still failing to have the issue resolved.
As well as threatening travel to amber list countries, the error means “vaccine passports” in Britain would be affected. Ministers have said the passports will be required for nightclubs from September and may be introduced in other venues where crowds gather, which could include weddings.
One patient said they feared “carnage” in coming months if problems continued as vaccine passports became increasingly crucial to everyday life.
Dan Ciubotaru, professor of mathematics, University of Oxford, has been waiting almost two years to visit his elderly father in Romania. He had his second jab a month ago, but it took multiple phone calls, emails and threats of booking a third jab before the issue was rectified by his GP.
His first dose, which he had at a pharmacy, appeared the next day on his NHS App. But the second dose, which he had at the mass vaccination centre at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford, just “didn’t appear”, he said.
“After five days I tried to call 119 to get a proof of vaccination, they told me to wait until seven days have passed. I did that, I called again, then they said they can’t do anything and I should call the vaccination centre,” he said.
He believes his second dose was never entered into the NHS system, as after receiving it, he received a further letter telling him to book another appointment. To test his theory, he went through the online booking system and was able to make an appointment for a third jab.
Prof Ciubotaru said he was sent “full circle”, by those running the mass centre, and his own GP, who directed him to an online help tool for the NHS App.
Eventually, he called his GP again, saying his only recourse was to have a third jab, in order to make the trip abroad. At this, the surgery resolved the issue, asking him to bear with them “due to the large volume of similar requests we are receiving at the moment”.
“The GP had to do it in the end, but it’s been more difficult than I had imagined,” said the academic, who said it took around 10 calls to resolve the issue.
Andrew Harrold, 46, from Brighton, contacted health officials in May after his vaccine at NHS Selhurst Park vaccination centre the previous month failed to display on the app.
Despite repeatedly providing the 119 helpline service, NHS Digital and his GP practice with his record card, showing the batch number and date of administration, and 14 attempts to resolve the matter, the information remains missing, with officials unable to explain why.
Two weeks ago, his GP practice said the record had been updated, and would display within a week, but it has yet to do so.
He said: “So far, no one has been able to resolve the issue, and the disjointed nature of the support doesn’t help. I’ve been fobbed off by 119 call centre agents, the NHS App helpline, NHS Digital and the GP practice has tried to help, but still hasn’t resolved it. I’ll keep persevering but its a really hard system to navigate, and it risks excluding a lot of people from the return to normality.”
Lee Carter, a teacher from Wigan, discovered his first vaccine dose from March was not logged on the app, though his second dose from June was. His partner, Clare Northall, called their GP to try and rectify the issue, as the couple are due to go to Spain next month. But she then became stuck in a circle of calls between 119, their GP and the vaccine hub.
Regardless of where vaccines are administered, they should be logged on a patient’s GP record, and onto a central database.
Vaccine passports in large venues
In Mr Carter’s case, it eventually became clear that although his jabs had been added to his medical record in the practice, one of them had not been added to the central system, called the National Immunisation Management System, which would allow information to be shared with the app.
Ms Northall urged others to check their records in good time before planning a holiday or a trip requiring a Covid-19 pass.
"There could be people that download the app on the Friday to go to the football on a Saturday and they won’t be able to go because it doesn’t work,” she said.
NHS guidance for vaccination centres urges health workers to speak up if they spot “a big difference” between the number of jabs being administered at the centres, and records passed on to GPs.
Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said it was “frustrating and unsatisfactory” for patients to be told their GPs would resolve problems with vaccines passports, only for them to remain unresolved.
“We’d ask NHS Digital and NHS England to work with GPs to ensure that it’s possible to correct and update patients’ records swiftly,” she said.
Positive covid tests, England
Up to 40,000 volunteers who took part in vaccine trials have already been forced to put their summer holidays on hold after the NHS’s computer system failed to recognise their Covid-19 vaccinations. Britain’s vaccines tsar, Dame Kate Bingham, who took part in the research, is among those waiting for the NHS computer system to make changes which would allow their jabs to count.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "The information displayed is from national NHS systems and if a patient’s information is incorrect or missing they can contact their GP who will be able to update their record.”
Downing Street did not rule out large weddings being included in the new drive to mandate vaccine passports.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman declined to be drawn when asked if attendees of weddings, pubs and other large gatherings could be required to show proof of vaccination.
Meanwhile, lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs are threatening to boycott the Conservative Party annual conference in October in protest over the push to legislate on vaccine passports.