Covid-19 vaccinations and travel have been a topic of discussion once again from Novak Djokovic winning his case in Australia to nations tightening rules on the duration of a valid Covid pass to enter.

One issue is clear, Covid passes expose issues in our systems that we should be looking to fix as soon as possible.

I have been lucky enough to have had my first two vaccines and have been traveling to see my family abroad recently, meaning I needed a Covid pass.

I generated it and was able to leave the UK. When it then came time to return, I went to fill in my passenger locator form, as per the rules, only to find that my vaccination status was not recognised by the system.

Due to personal circumstances this summer, I was not able to travel back to Wales for my second jab and so was vaccinated in London, at a walk in. This means that on any Covid pass that I generate, my vaccines are listed as the first vaccine in each nation.

I am not alone in this issue. From university students who had one vaccine at their university address and one at their home address, to those who have moved within the UK, the current system does not account for the movement of our populations.

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Many people say this is a technical issue but as a computer scientist I can confirm that it is simply an issue that policy makers do not feel they need to solve.

This exposes a deeper issue. At the moment, people who have been vaccinated across multiple nations in the United Kingdom are having issues accessing and recording their vaccine doses. It is known that this is down to a problem with communication between NHS systems, with there also being some issues internal to nations.

Upon deeper reflection, this makes sense. While we talk about “the NHS”, there are separate National Health Services across the different nations of the UK. This is down to the simple fact that healthcare is a devolved competency within the UK, with health services coming under that.

We need to have a more flexible system that allows the transfer of vaccine data across all UK nations. Many others and I are still against the usage of vaccine passports.

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In Wales, vaccine passports are used internally and for travel purposes but there are major issues with these as some of us are unable to prove that we have had both doses.

Devolution makes the use of different systems necessary, but we need to do the federal due diligence to ensure that all of the systems are compatible with each other and are able to transfer data properly.

This could be solved by having a two-way system to make sure the data is correct. Firstly, GPs should have access to the system with the purpose of ensuring that any doses that may have been missed are logged, using vaccine cards of proof of vaccinations.

The next step is to have a logging service which would allow people to send off their jab details, meaning that their jab can be recorded centrally if they do not have access to a GP.

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The naval gazing attitude of the Labour Welsh Government in co-operation with Plaid Cymru means the likelihood of this issue being fixed is minimal and that indirectly endangers devolution.

We cannot allow those who are against devolution to use this lack of entente between our NHS systems in these isles to hinder devolution. This issue needs to be fixed for people across the UK and to show that our nations can work together and are strong within the UK framework.

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