July 28, 2021

EU-wide start: This is how vacation works with a digital vaccination certificate


Status: 07/01/2021 4:34 a.m.

Today the EU vaccination certificate officially starts. This should make a lot of things easier on vacation. But the digital vaccination certificate does not yet work in all EU countries.

From Dominik Lauck,

In which countries is the digital vaccination certificate valid?

The EU’s digital COVID certificate is valid nationwide and in all other EU countries. It is also accepted in four other countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The basic technical requirements have been met in all of these countries – you can access the EU gateway, via which the signature keys of the individual countries can be checked. However, there are still problems with the practical implementation in some countries, for example with regard to the issuing of vaccination certificates. These countries should be connected to the platform by mid-August at the latest.

Which countries meet all technical requirements?

According to the EU Commission, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the Czech Republic have fulfilled the requirements of the EU states all requirements. In addition, the non-EU countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway should also be able to check the vaccination certificate.

There are still problems in the EU countries Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Hungary and Cyprus as well as in Switzerland.

Do I still have to take my yellow vaccination booklet with me?

It is actually no longer necessary to carry the yellow paper vaccination booklet with you in the EU. However, this is still valid. The Federal Ministry of Health advises holidaymakers to take the vaccination booklet with them when traveling to the EU to be on the safe side if there are still problems with the digital certificate on site. Anyone planning a vacation outside of Europe is dependent on the yellow vaccination book issued by the World Health Organization.

What advantages do I have with the digital vaccination certificate?

The EU member states have assured that holders of the digital vaccination certificate will in principle waive the quarantine and test obligations upon entry. In which other places the certificates facilitate vacations, shopping trips or weekend trips, each country determines itself.

In Italy, for example, you can visit public events with a vaccination certificate and travel to regions with a higher risk of infection, which are designated as corona zones. In Austria, the QR code facilitates access to bars, hotels, leisure facilities and events. Because everywhere there, guests have to be recovered, vaccinated or tested. If you enter Bulgaria or Poland, you can save yourself ten days of quarantine with the vaccination certificate.

When do I not have any advantages?

Depending on the infection situation, restrictions can also be reintroduced even for those who have been completely vaccinated. Therefore, travelers should always inform themselves briefly in advance about the corona situation in the respective country. For example, Germany has currently issued strict rules for those arriving from so-called virus variant areas such as Portugal, Great Britain or Russia, where the delta variant is widespread. Anyone who comes back to the Federal Republic from such countries has to be in quarantine for 14 days – even as a convalescent or with full vaccination protection – and cannot be tested.

What exactly is the digital vaccination certificate?

The digital certificate is digital proof that you have either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from Corona. It is a voluntary addition to the yellow paper vaccination book that is still valid. In addition, rapid or PCR tests can also be documented as a digital certificate. The proof is usually stored in an app on the smartphone via QR code. If you don’t have a mobile phone, you can also print out the certificate and use it.

Where can I get the digital vaccination certificate?

You will receive the certificate after the complete vaccination in the vaccination center or in the doctor’s office. The QR code is usually printed out on paper and can then be read in with a smartphone. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, around 38 million vaccination certificates have been issued in Germany so far, with both a first and a second vaccination certificate. The number of certificates can therefore exceed that of the vaccinated.

Anyone who has been fully vaccinated in the past few months can subsequently receive the digital proof. Who is in Vaccination center got vaccinated, should have received the code by now. Who in a doctor’s office has been vaccinated, can contact them and ask for a digital certificate that has been generated at a later date. Many too Pharmacies offer this. To do this, the yellow paper vaccination booklet and identity card must be presented. The digital certificates are labeled “EU-COVID-19 vaccination certificate”.

What data is stored in the digital certificate?

The certificate stores the name and date of birth, as well as the date of the vaccination, the name of the vaccine and the batch number. This data is only stored locally on the smartphone. To create the vaccination certificate, it is necessary that the data is collected once by the vaccination center and transmitted to the RKI for signature. This data is immediately deleted there.

In which cases are there still problems?

There are still problems with those who have recovered. They need two certificates: a recovered certificate and one from the vaccination, which is due six months after surviving the corona infection. The recovered certificate cannot yet be read into the app. As opposed to the Federal Ministry of Health tagesschau.de announced that the necessary technical prerequisites are to be created in the coming days – but when exactly is still unclear.

Which vaccines are recognized?

Only vaccinations with vaccines approved in the EU are recognized. In practice, this raises the question of what about the entry of Hungarians or Slovaks who have been vaccinated with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. At least in Germany, such persons are not regarded as fully vaccinated when entering the country and have to prove negative tests.

How is the digital vaccination certificate verified?

There is also the “CovPass Check” app. This allows restaurant operators, for example, to check with a quick scan whether the guests have complete vaccination protection or a valid quick test. You will only see the vaccination status and the name of the guest, which you have to compare with your identity card or another ID document.

Airlines and airport operators warn that there may be significant delays in passenger handling due to the verification of the vaccination certificate. There are “major operational risks due to the inconsistent approach taken by the member states,” declared the associations of European airlines and airport operators.

On which smartphones is the vaccination card available?

The digital vaccination certificate can either be saved and displayed locally in the specially developed CovPass app or in the Corona Warning app (from version 2.3) – both are issued by the Robert Koch Institute. It can also be stored in the Luca app.

The CovPass app can be downloaded free of charge for iPhones from the Apple App Store, for Android phones it is available from the Google Play Store and for Huawei smartphones from the Huawei AppGallery. The iOS 12 (or newer) operating system is required on Apple devices; at least the Android 6 operating system must be installed on Android devices.

If you don’t own a smartphone or don’t want to use it, you can also use the vaccination certificate as a printed QR code on paper.

Can I travel with a test instead of a vaccination?

Yes. The digital vaccination certificate is intended to facilitate the free movement of people within the EU. However, it is not a prerequisite for freedom of movement, which is a fundamental right in the EU. The digital certificate also serves as proof of test results, the submission of which is often required by the state.

What does the digital vaccination certificate cost?

The digital vaccination card is free. However, pharmacies and doctors receive up to 18 euros in remuneration for the subsequent creation of digital certificates from taxpayers’ money. According to the taxpayers’ association, this will cost around 50 million euros in total.

July 1st: The digital vaccination certificate comes into force across Europe. What does he bring?

Helga Schmidt, ARD Brussels, July 1, 2021 5:54 a.m.