Travelers have been barred from boarding flights and ferries for overseas travel after a four-hour outage of England’s NHS app that prevented people from accessing a Covid pass to prove their vaccination status.
Hundreds of people have tried to download the information many countries need before departure – including a QR code and details of the shots they took – but were told to “try again later”, prompting chaos and fury.
The nhs.uk app and website started malfunctioning just before noon on Wednesday, and NHS Digital said the issue was resolved by 4:30 p.m. He blamed the outage on “a technical issue with a global service provider that affected many different organizations.”
While people could still apply for a paper Covid pass by calling 119, travelers are discouraged to request one less than four weeks before their departure, leaving a lot out when they went to try and get a digital version so that they were queuing up to check in.
Chuck Adolphy, 24, was scheduled to fly from Gatwick Airport to Slovenia on Wednesday for a vacation with his girlfriend, but when he opened the app he found he couldn’t collect his Covid pass for prove he had been fully vaccinated. He said it was “very boring” as the two were unable to board the plane despite showing their vaccination cards.
Adolphy called the situation a “mess” and said around 20 people were taken out of the airport with them – although it is not clear whether they all had to leave for the same reason. He said he and his partner ended up with £ 100 out of their pocket.
Caroline Frost also denied boarding for a flight on Wednesday, which noticed the failure of the NHS app as she waited to check in for a trip from Heathrow to Nice.
“I was able to provide all kinds of proof that I had traveled abroad before – tests that would previously have required the same proof, even the little blue vaccination record – but nothing was accepted”, a- she declared.
Frost said another traveler was “very upset” by the ordeal and had to book a hotel in Heathrow and wait for the app to pick up, as there were no other flights for her that day – the.
Tara Birkett was another affected person. She said she missed a ferry crossing from Dover to Calais because she could not collect her Covid pass.
People attending certain events in England may also have been affected, as some places such as concert halls require people to use the app to demonstrate their inoculation.
Covid apps in other British countries have also encountered problems in recent months. Earlier in October, users of the Scottish Vaccine Passport app said it didn’t work and the app couldn’t find their data, while in July in Northern Ireland some app users could see other people’s data. The Welsh government is hoping it won’t see anything similar when it launches its app this week.