German pharmacies start offering digital vaccination pass again after pause

German pharmacies start offering digital vaccination pass again after pause
A sign to get the digital vaccination certificate in a chemist in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Paul Zinken
German pharmacies can this week offer digital Covid vaccination certificates again after having to stop for several days due to security problems.

Pharmacies are gradually gaining access to the German Pharmacists’ Association web portal used to generate the certificate, the Health Ministry announced late on Friday.

However, it will probably take a few days before all pharmacies can issue the certificate again, they said. 

As The Local reported, the Health Ministry confirmed on Thursday last week that they had been notified of potentially security “weak points” in accessing the portal used to generate the certificate.

An investigation by the newspaper Handelsblatt found that forged documents could be used to generate ‘guest access’ for a non-existent pharmacist on the portal and use this access to secure certificates for unauthorised third parties.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get your digital Covid vaccine pass in Germany for EU travel

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According to the Health Ministry, the security breach potentially affected only the few hundred pharmacies that are not members of the DAV (Deutsche Apothekerverband).

“All granted access points have already been checked and verified. According to current knowledge, no fraud has occurred in the issuing of vaccination certificates,” the ministry said.

Work is underway to increase security when giving out vaccination certificates, said the ministry. 

How can I get the digital Covid certificate?

Since June 14th 2021, vaccinated people have been able to obtain the digital EU Covid health pass for free from their local pharmacy. On July 8th, this was expanded to include people who have recovered from Covid and also had their first jab.

READ ALSO: Germany to offer digital vaccine certificates to Covid survivors who’ve had one jab

Fully vaccinated people receive a certificate that contains a QR code, which can be scanned into a smartphone and onto the CovPass or Corona Warn app. 

Those who get vaccinated at a centre or doctor’s surgery may also receive the QR code there. Some centres are also sending out the certificate by mail. 

The move is intended to offer a simplified, EU-wide system for proving an individual’s Covid vaccination status during the pandemic. It can be used for cross-border travel throughout the European Union, and for access to events and venues. 

Digital health certificates in Germany are not mandatory. People can also use their ‘yellow booklet’ as evidence of vaccination. 

READ ALSO: Can tourists in Germany get the digital health certificate?


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