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Children who had Covid-19 but did not take a PCR test may be unable to use vaccine passports during the half term holidays.

Countries including France and Italy require all over-12s to prove their vaccination or recovered status to access their official Covid passes, which are needed to use services including ski lifts, restaurants and transport, or face additional restrictions.

In France, the government will consider an individual fully vaccinated if it is at least one week after their first dose of vaccine and they are able to prove they previously tested positive for Covid-19.

Under-16s will be given access to the NHS app in time for the school break, which will include a QR code for each vaccine dose they’ve received and any prior Covid infection.

But it has emerged that proof of immunity from previous infection will only be available to those who confirmed that infection via an NHS PCR test, and not from a lateral flow test (LFT).

People with a positive LFT are no longer required to take a confirmatory PCR, after the guidance was changed on January 11 due to the high Covid rates across England from the omicron variant.

Staff and secondary school pupils are also still “strongly encouraged” to take twice weekly LFTs, according to Department for Education guidance, to pick up asymptomatic cases.

But until now, under-16s have had no way to prove their recovered status and families have been forced to cancel their half term trips.

Andy O’Brien, from East Sussex, cancelled his family’s half term ski trip to France after being unable to get proof of his 14-year-old daughter’s previous infection.

Andy O'Brien, from East Sussex, cancelled his family's half term ski holiday to France after being unable to secure proof of his daughter's prior Covid infection Andy O’Brien, from East Sussex, cancelled his family’s half term ski holiday to France after being unable to secure proof of his daughter’s prior Covid infection

Steve Brine, the Conservative MP for Winchester & Chandler’s Ford, first raised the issue in the Commons last week after constituents told him of their struggles trying to prove their children’s vaccination and recovered status.

Children aged 12 will still not be able to use the NHS App when the changes come into force on February 3, but can access their proof of vaccination and prior infection online via the NHS website in pdf form.

However, despite the rule change, those who only had a positive LFT will not be able to prove their recovered status, potentially scuppering families’ half term plans.

Positive LFTs can be registered on the website but it’s understood that information is not transferred into proof of natural immunity, unlike an NHS PCR test.

Proof of recovery can only be shown between 10 and 180 days after a positive PCR test, and it is displayed in the NHS app in the same way as vaccination status via a QR code.

Concerns eased over GP checks

Concerns were also raised that under-16s would not be able to access the NHS App unless they had permission from their GP.

But The Telegraph understands a family doctor would only need to carry out a competency check on 13 to 15-year-olds using the app if they wish to access their entire medical record.

Under-16s who have not undergone a Gillick competency assessment with their GP will not be able to see their medical history on the app, but this does not stop them seeing their Covid vaccination or recovered status.

To access the app or online pass children will need to register for an NHS login, this can be done themselves or by a parent or guardian. They will need to verify their identity using a UK passport and the process can take anywhere between 24 hours to a few days.

In a written statement announcing the changes Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said: “From 3rd February, the Government will ensure that all children aged 12 and over will also be able to get a digital NHS Covid Pass for international travel to support our efforts to open up travel.

“The digital NHS Covid Pass will provide a record of Covid-19 vaccinations received and will show evidence of having recovered from Covid-19 up to 180 days following a positive NHS PCR test.”

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