German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Thursday that Germany will release a digital immunity certificate “CovPass” by the end of June, which facilitates the final proof that a person is fully vaccinated.
The digital pass should be made available along with the traditional German yellow paper vaccination booklet, he stressed.
People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have recovered have recently been exempted from many restrictions in Germany. This includes travel restrictions, something that is very relevant throughout Europe before the summer holidays.
The concerned Minister of Health of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) announces new measures for COVID-19 and spreads optimism on a daily basis. Observers also see this as an attempt to gain voter support ahead of the September general election, where Span̵
So from next week, the Germans will be able to prove that they are fully vaccinated by simply showing an application on their smartphones. Those who have already received all their hits must be able to obtain their digital certificate retroactively.
In Germany, COVID-19 vaccines are administered in vaccination centers by general practitioners and, more recently, by company doctors.
Anyone who has already received their second vaccination at the vaccination center should automatically receive their electronic vaccination certificate by mail within the next few weeks. Using the QR code contained in it, the data can be uploaded to applications designed for this purpose, such as “CovPass” or the warning application Corona.
But doctors and pharmacists are ill-prepared and feel lost.
Reimbursement of the costs of additional work on the issuance of the digital certificate is regulated: Physicians are promised a refund of € 2 – € 6 ($ 2.4 – $ 7.3) for each digital document they issue to patients who vaccinate. Clinics, vaccination centers and pharmacies will receive EUR 18 for a retroactive certificate.
Since its introduction last year, the German COVID tracking application has been criticized as not very useful.
There are 20,000 pharmacies in Germany; they can register for this week’s digital vaccination certification process.
But Andreas Mueller, a pharmacist in Berlin who does not want to see his real name, told DW on Wednesday that there was still no information on how it really should work.
“I received a confirmation from the Pharmacists’ Association confirming that we can issue the digital certificate. But that was it, there was no additional information!” He shrugs.
“We have to start on Monday. But I don’t know how to do that. I don’t have software for it. And I don’t know how to tell a fake paper certificate from a real one.” This really worries him, because the issuance of a false certificate is punishable as a violation and carries a fine.
On Wednesday, the pharmacist already made eight people ask for a digital certificate. There were even 20 people around the corner in the pharmacy, all of whom had to be rejected without being able to tell them when they would be able to start issuing digital certificates. “It almost makes me laugh,” Mueller says desperately.
Almost 20 million people in Germany have been fully vaccinated. They all have small vaccine stickers and stamps in their yellow vaccination books. But many people don’t want you to have to carry it with you at all times – not least for fear of losing it.
A smartphone application certificate would be much easier to visit a restaurant or travel.
The European Parliament announced its permission to use COVID-19 digital certificates within the European Union on Wednesday, saying it now depends on member states to apply the rules.
The measures will take effect on July 1 and will last 12 months.
The proposed certificates would allow safer travel between EU countries by validating whether someone has been fully vaccinated, recently tested negative for the virus or has recovered from the disease. The EU will also provide 100m euros ($ 121.9m) for the purchase of COVID-19 tests.
But Germany is lagging behind. The country was able to expand its national coronavirus tracking application to read QR codes certifying vaccination. But it is unclear whether this will be compatible with the new EU application.
General practitioner Michael Schaefer in Berlin is also at a loss. He doesn’t know what to say when his patients ask him for the digital certificate. “We hear something new every day,” he says. “But not exactly how it should work. In principle, it should be integrated into our administrative software, but the PVS administrative software provider has not yet received any instructions.”
The government wants PVS, the charging system for healthcare providers, to develop and distribute an appropriate update to the COVID-19 digital pass software no later than July 12 – but preferably before the end of June; However, Schaefer doubts whether this schedule is realistic.
This article has been translated from German.
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