On Wednesday, England’s COVID Pass system was offline for several hours, causing British travelers to be stranded at the airport. Some passengers were unable to board the aircraft, while others experienced delays due to problems with the National Health Service (NHS) website and app.
Delays and missed flights
The NHS system was interrupted for about four hours, and many British travelers were unable to access their vaccination records and were unable to show their COVID passes to the airline. Before boarding passengers, most airlines in the UK require vaccination certificates in printed or digital form. However, due to constant errors in the NHS smartphone app, those who do not have a paper copy are in trouble.
The vaccinated reporter Caroline Frost was one of many passengers who had survived the storm at the airport:
Waiting to take off at Heathrow Airport, the NHS app crashed due to all available COVID vaccination certificates. No flights are currently allowed. Spend a fun afternoon at Heathrow Airport.
-Caroline Frost (@FrostReporter) October 13, 2021
Although the NHS issued a statement on “Problems with Access to COVID Pass,” it did not specify the exact reason for the interruption.
There are currently problems accessing Covid Pass on the NHS app and website. We are investigating this issue and will update it as soon as possible.
-NHS Digital (@NHSDigital) October 13, 2021
This is not the first time the UK government’s digital COVID vaccine passport has encountered problems. Earlier this month, Scotland’s Chief Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted that the app had temporary problems. He said: “In particular, many people found that the app was unable to find their vaccination records from the information they provided.”
Sturgeon explained that the problem is not the application itself, but the centralized NHS system it is linked to. “Essentially, the high demand after the application is launched — plus an error in a part of the NHS system — means that information is not being sent from the NHS system to the application fast enough. This is also, for a period of time, giving Those who ask for a paper copy of the vaccination certificate or seek to download a PDF file are causing problems.”
In July, a data breach occurred in Northern Ireland’s vaccine passport service, exposing users’ personal information and forcing the Northern Ireland Department of Health to temporarily shut down the service.
Although digital vaccine passports provide convenience, they cannot avoid network outages, data leaks, and cyberattacks. As the use of digital vaccine passports increases, all these obstacles need to be noted. It is a good idea to carry a paper vaccination certificate when traveling-at least, it can save you time in the event of a power outage.