CovPass: Here’s how Germany’s new digital vaccination pass will work

Some people getting a Covid vaccine in Germany might also receive a digital pass as part of a pilot project. Here's how it works.

CovPass: Here's how Germany's new digital vaccination pass will work
The digital vaccination pass. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild-Pool | Soeren Stache

Selected vaccination centres are giving out the digital certificate, known as the ‘CovPass’ – along with the paper version – to monitor how it works ahead of the nationwide rollout.

“We want to see how the processes work,” said Gottfried Ludewig, department head in the Health Ministry, during a visit to the Potsdam vaccination centre on Thursday. “Does it work technically? Does it also work in the system?”

The centre is part of the nationwide field trial to test the digital vaccination pass, reported the Tagesschau on Thursday. 


Doctor Christoph Borch at a vaccination centre in Potsdam with a version of the digital vaccine pass. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild-Pool | Soeren Stache

At the beginning of the year, the European Commission agreed that countries would launch a digital health record – now called the EU Digital Covid Certificate.

The EU hopes the certificates, which they say are not strictly “vaccine passports”, will make travel easier and safer, and boost the economies of tourism-dependent nations.

Member states, including Germany, are implementing their own systems for how residents can upload their vaccine certificate or Covid-19 health status onto a digital platform.

Results of Covid-19 tests or proof of recovery from coronavirus can also be stored on the CovPass app.

Health Minister Jens Spahn has said the digital pass will be offered in Germany by the end of June.

Ludewig assured that the introduction of the digital certificate was on schedule.

How does it work?

People who have been vaccinated should receive a piece of paper with a code which they scan onto their smartphone and onto an app. They will receive the certificate from the vaccinating doctor or centre.

Those who have already had their jab should also receive the certificate from their GP or vaccination centre, authorities say.

Alternatively, they can get digital evidence from pharmacies or doctors’ surgeries by presenting their analog vaccination certificate.

But after the introduction of the CovPass, the paper vaccination certificate – such as the well-known ‘yellow vaccine booklet’ – remains valid.

People who are travelling in the EU (this may also be extended to some non-EU countries) but do not want to provide proof of their vaccine status via an app can, alternatively, carry the printed code with them.

READ ALSO: Jabs for children and digital passports: What can we expect from Germany’s vaccine summit?

‘No bureaucratic monster’

Ludewig countered fears that the procedure could see people use forged vaccination cards to turn them into valid digital certificates.

He said yellow vaccination booklets can be checked for forgery by pharmacies and GPs.

Board member of the Brandenburg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Holger Rostek, said he was delighted with the start of the field tests.

“The vaccination certificate must be practical and also work in general practitioners’ practices,” said Rostek. “We want to vaccinate and not have a bureaucratic monster.”

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‘This can be a good summer’: Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid

One in two Germans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, health authorities said Friday, before warning against complacency as the Delta variant is expected to become the dominant strain.

'This can be a good summer': Half of Germans vaccinated at least once against Covid
Jens Spahn. Photo: DPA/Carsten Koall

Some 50.1 percent of the total German population, or 41.66 million people, have now been vaccinated at least once against the coronavirus, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Friday.

At the same time 29.6 percent of the population now has full protection – that’s just under 25 million people.

“This can be a good summer,” said Health Minister Jens Spahn on Friday, before saying that the country needed to remain vigilant due to the spread of the Delta variant.

RKI President Lothar Wieler meanwhile warned that the numbers also showed that millions of people were still completely unprotected or only partially protected.

In order to largely dispense with the pandemic measures, the German government wants to hit 80 percent immunity – either through complete vaccination or an infection plus vaccination. 

The Delta variant, first identified in India, doubled to just over 6 percent of all new infections in Germany during the week ending June 6th in comparison with the previous seven days.

“By the autumn, it will be the dominant strain,” said Wieler.

It was “biologically logical” for the strain to become dominant simply because it was more infectious, he said.

Germany has eased most restrictions, reopening restaurants, shops, pools and museums in recent weeks as new infections dip sharply.

On Friday, it recorded 1,076 new cases, while the number of new cases over a seven day period continued to drop to 10 per 100,000 people.

Wieler said however that it was necessary to keep wearing masks indoors, such as on public transport or at offices.

“We have achieved really good results but the virus is still active and please let us give this virus no chance,” he urged.