The NHS is set to launch a helpline for double-jabbed people who have been locked out of getting vaccine passports due to NHS errors, as it emerged at least 50 people a day are being missed
The Telegraph has been inundated by readers who are fully vaccinated, but face missing out on holidays and entry to major events after failures by NHS recording systems, an investigation has found.
It comes as Nadim Zahawi, the Vaccines Minister, announced on Sunday that 70 per cent of adults are now fully vaccinated and that 88 per cent have had one dose.
Amid growing chaos, health officials are preparing to launch a new service to deal with hundreds of people whose vaccines have not been properly recorded on the app.
Vaccination centre managers said the problems were “very common” – and usually resulted from a failure of staff to press a final “save” after inputting key data. One said some large sites were uncovering as many as 50 errors a day.
The scale of the fiasco is only starting to emerge now, as growing numbers try to establish that they have the right credentials to go abroad.
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The NHS app is used as a vaccine passport, and since last week has allowed those who are double jabbed to return from amber list countries without being quarantined. In future it will be used to gain access to nightclubs and mass events, with ministers having drawn up plans for compulsory use by the end of September.
Health officials advise patients to contact their GP if they find that the app does not offer them a “Covid pass” for travel and domestic use, despite being double jabbed.
But patients have said they have been “fobbed off” and “sent round in circles”, by helplines, and by family doctors without matters being resolved.
One NHS vaccination centre manager told the Telegraph: “The mistakes are happening really regularly, and most often the problem only gets picked up either when they come for their second jab – and we realise there is no record of the first, or now, when people have started looking at their apps, because they need a vaccine passport”.
At some large sites he worked at, as many as 50 patients a day had been affected by recording errors, he said, many of which were only starting to coming to light now.
“People are rushing through them, and the mistakes don’t get picked up,” he said.
Rectifying the matter often proved “a nightmare,” he said, with centres having to attempt to track down the health worker who administered the jab before updating the records.
“It’s particularly difficult because you’ve got all these pop-up sites, so sometimes when they are trying to track back the centre that made the mistake isn’t even there any more,” he said.
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One retired IT director from south London said he was “at his wits’ end” after making more than 50 attempts to get his jabs recorded on the app, over the last four months.
Readers have told how they have been unable to visit loved ones abroad, with some managing to resolve the matter only after they threatened to have a third jab.
Many told how they remain in limbo, despite being told by the GP that their matter was resolved.
NHS England has said a new service “to support people in England with specific queries about their Covid-19 vaccination records” will be launched next month.
A spokesperson for the NHS, said: “A vaccine resolution service is being set up by NHS Digital to support any patient living in England, which will address issues around vaccination records for those who have been vaccinated and queries around this being displayed on the Covid App.”
Reader Elaine Gathercole, 67, from Malton, near York, said her GP surgery was dealing with 12 complaints including her own by last week, as a result of the local mass vaccination centre.
Credit: Charlotte Graham
If problems were as common elsewhere, it could mean more than 100,000 people affected, she calculated.
She was told that the mistakes had been made by her local mass vaccination centre, Askham Bar – and ended up getting the matter resolved after her MP tracked down its contact details.
“All those mistakes were made by the mass vaccination centre – but we are told by 119 to bother our overloaded GP to sort it out” she said.
A number of affected patients have turned to their MPs, with the matter raised in the Commons last week.
One retired IT director from south London told of making more than 50 attempts to get his jabs recorded on the app, over the last four months.
Having alerted his GP, the NHS app helpline and other parts of the health system to the problems since March, without resolution he has been left “simply going round in circles” and now facing the prospect of cancelling a summer holiday he had planned to Iceland next month.
He said he felt “embarassed” by having to phone his GP so much about it, having barely troubled the practice in the past, but saw no way to resolve the problems, which he said would never have been tolerated in his own industry.
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NHS officials have advised those affected to contact their GPs, regardless of which venue administered the jab. Practices should be able to correct the medical record – and enter them into a centralised system. But experts said that many GPs were failing to enter the data into the central system, or were unable to access it.
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.
Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, told the Commons he has been contacted by a number of constituents over the matter. He told MPs: “It’s putting their holiday plans in doubt and from September they may not be able to access some venues when Covid passports could be introduced; though not with my support.”
“Not only will Covid passports create a two-tier society, it also appears to be a system based on sometimes inaccurate data,” he said.