Germany begins rollout of digital vaccine certificate: What you need to know

Germany begins rollout of digital vaccine certificate: What you need to know

The rollout of Germany’s much-anticipated digital vaccine certificate will begin from Thursday, June 10. Here’s what you need to know about the apps on offer, proving your vaccination status, and what the certificate can be used for. 

The digital proof of vaccination is here

In future, people in Germany should be able to prove that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 via their smartphones, with a digital vaccination certificate. The new technology is being rolled out from this Thursday in the federal republic and should be available nationwide by the end of June. 

“The digital vaccination pass will now be rolled out step by step and will be available in the apps,” a spokesperson from the Federal Ministry of Health said. 

What is the digital vaccine certificate? 

The certificate is intended to give fully vaccinated people a convenient way of proving their immunity status via a smartphone, so they don’t always have to carry their yellow vaccination booklet with them. 

For this purpose, Germany has released a new app, called CovPass, which allows users to upload details of their coronavirus vaccinations, test results, or past infections using a QR code. The app should be available in app stores before this coming Monday. 

The Corona-Warn-App (CWA), which has been in use in Germany for many months now and has an estimated 25 million active users, will also support these functions - you just need to make sure to update your app to the latest version. 

Individuals can choose for themselves whether they’d rather use the CWA or the CovPass app. They do not differ in the function of the proof of vaccination, but CovPass does not have a contact tracking function.

It’s important to note that neither app will permanently replace the yellow vaccination card, which will remain valid for anyone who does not have a digital certificate or does not want to use one. According to the Health Ministry, the apps are a “voluntary and supplementary offer.”

What can it be used for? 

The digital vaccine certificate can be used in any situation when demonstrating one’s immunity status is required - for instance when visiting restaurants or attending events. Starting from July, Germany’s digital pass can also be used for cross-border travel as part of the EU-wide digital COVID certificate scheme. Depending on the destination, having the pass may free travellers from testing or quarantine requirements. 

How do I get a digital vaccine pass in Germany? 

Not all details have been finalised yet, but the plan is that everyone who has already been fully vaccinated - a group that now includes some 19 million people in Germany - should be able to receive digital confirmation of this retroactively. 

Anyone who has already received their second jab at a vaccination centre should automatically receive a digital vaccination certificate in the post over the next few weeks. The certificate will contain a QR code that can be scanned into the app to upload proof of vaccination. 

It will also be possible to obtain this proof from pharmacies in Germany, who should be ready to do this from next Monday, June 14. Anyone who has already had their second jab will be able to visit a participating pharmacy and receive a QR code. The website will soon have an overview of which pharmacies will be issuing vaccination certificates. You will need to take both your paper vaccination certificate and an official photo ID. 

Ministers are also looking at other ways that people could receive retroactive digital proof of vaccination. This could involve people requesting it from the doctor that issued the jab. 

In future, anyone who receives their second vaccination should receive a QR code digital confirmation of this from their GP or at the vaccination centre. Germany has been trialling this system in test centres over the past few weeks and hopes to roll it out nationwide by the end of the month. 

Do I have to pay to get a digital certificate?

No. The digital vaccine certificate is free. “This was set up by the ministry as a free service,” said a spokesperson for the German Pharmacists’ Association. However, that’s not to say there is no cost involved at all. The pharmacies will bill the statutory health insurance companies.

What data is stored in the certificate?

According to the Federal Health Ministry, the digital vaccination certificate contains information on vaccination status, vaccination date, vaccine type, and the patient’s name and date of birth. The data collected is stored only to create the certificate and then deleted. After that, the data is only contained within the app on the individual’s smartphone - there is no central store. 

It’s worth noting, however, that as is the case for the yellow vaccination certificate, for privacy reasons it’s not a good idea to share photos of one’s digital vaccine certificate on social media. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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Gwen Leigh 14:15 | 10 June 2021

Here's something that is still not working - the Corona Warn App is still not available in the US App store. I can get the Corona apps from almost every other country, but not the German app. You would think they would make it available internationally, but it looks like you can only get it in the German app store. I imagine a lot of expats are using their native countries app store. I do have a second account in Germany I can switch to, it just seems ridiculous to me.

PatricioUbeda2 11:14 | 12 June 2021

It's available also from the Spanish Google Play store, but this new CovPass app is not. I also find this a bit ridiculous, specially since it can be quite hard to change app store countries (at least with Google I just can't do it).