Northern Irish vaccine certification app gradually expands availability after shaky start

Written by Sam Trendall on 4 August 2021 in News
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Citizens can obtain digital documentation for travel dates in the next two weeks

Credit: Ulrike Leone/Pixabay

Citizens in Northern Ireland that have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine can now obtain digital certification that can be used to travel abroad.

The country’s Covid Certification Service launched just under two weeks ago to allow citizens planning to travel abroad over the subsequent few days to use either the COVIDCertNI app or an online platform to apply for digital evidence of their vaccine status.

Even as it announced the launch of the system – and with applications limited to those travelling within the coming week – the Northern Irish Department of Health warned that “the new app service is likely to be popular and this might cause delays or capacity problems with accessing the service”.  


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And, after launching on Friday 23 July, the app and online platform were out of service by the following Tuesday, and remained offline until Saturday 31 July.

Having got back up and running, the system has been gradually opened up, and has now been expanded to offer certification to all those travelling between now and 17 August. 

Once users have successfully proven their identity, they will receive a status document that can be displayed in the app or printed off as a PDF document. Those without access to the internet can apply over the phone for a paper copy to be sent to them, although the DoH warned that this could take up to 10 working days.

In the first two days after the service relaunched, 8,452 applications were received, and 7,622 certificates were issued. A total of 38 fraudulent attempts to obtain a certificate were made by three people, the DoH said, while many others attempted to apply despite having received their second dose less than 14 days previously – or, in some cases, not at all.

“Work is ongoing to further enhance the resilience of the system, with a view to opening it up for all applications,” the department said.  

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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