Germany has unveiled a new digital immunity certificate that will be available alongside the paper ones already in use. The digital version is expected to make it easier for people to prove their Covid-19 vaccination status.
The new certificate, dubbed ‘CovPass’, was presented by Health Minister Jens Spahn on Thursday. It will become available to the public starting next week.
"The point is to get this paper into the device," Spahn said during a news conference, showing reporters an analog vaccination certificate and a smartphone displaying its digital form. The new pass is expected to be significantly more convenient to use, and people will be easily able to prove their immunity status, according to the minister.
"For those whose job it is to check, like in restaurants or in retail, there’s an app that makes it possible to read and verify the relevant certificates," he stated.
The digital certificate will be available through its namesake mobile app, CovPass, as well as through the older Corona Warn app. The main difference between the new app and its older counterpart is that it doesn’t have contact-tracing functionality.
The digital certificates will be issued to Germans when they receive their second Covid-19 jab. The CovPass certificates will be also available retroactively, with people who have already been fully vaccinated able to get the digital pass at pharmacies across the country.
The new certificates are not meant to be a replacement for the paper vaccination booklets already in use. While these will remain the main document for immunity status, the digital pass is designed more for convenience and will be able to be used for future travel in Europe.
The unveiling of CovPass comes a day after the EU Parliament approved the use of digital Covid-19 certificates within the bloc, new rules set to come into effect on July 1 and last for 12 months.
The EU-valid certificates may come in both paper and digital forms, but they must have a QR code so authorities can easily access a person’s data. The certificates are expected to include information on whether someone has been fully vaccinated with shots approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and whether they contracted coronavirus previously or have tested negative for the disease.