Digital Vaccination Record: Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
Current most frequently asked questions
I receive a message that the validity of a certificate is about to expire. What do I have to do?
The technical validity of the digital COVID certificates expires automatically after 365 days. If this is the case for you soon, you will receive a notification in the CovPass app 28 days before expiry.
In order to continue to prove your vaccination status, the certificate of your last vaccination as well as your recovery certificate must be renewed. You can reissue the certificates yourself in the app with just a few clicks. To do this, follow the instructions in the overview of your certificates under "Manage certificates".
Will I lose my vaccination status if one of my certificates expires?
Your vaccination status does not change when a certificate expires. You only need to reissue the corresponding certificate in the app to be able to prove your vaccination status via the CovPass app in the future. To do this, follow the instructions in the overview of your certificates (button "Manage certificates").
Why can I not renew a certificate in the app?
- Only certificates relevant for your vaccination status can be renewed, such as booster vaccinations or recovery certificates.
- The certificate is still valid for more than 28 days.
- The certificate has already expired more than 90 days ago. In this case, reissuance is no longer possible within the app. Please contact a pharmacy to obtain a new certificate.
- The number of reissues is limited to three per certificate. This includes renewals you have made for the same certificate on other cell phones or in the Corona-Warn-App (error code R429).
- Only certificates issued in Germany can be renewed via the CovPass app.
- Your app is not up to date. Please update it in the App Store.
I have had COVID-19 and have recovered. How can I prove that I have full immunity?
Since January 15, 2022, certificates of recovery within Germany and for entry into Germany are only valid for 90 days after the positive PCR test result.
If you would like to use the recovery certificate when entering other countries or when staying in other countries, please enquire about the regulations there.
Anyone who has been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and can prove this with a positive PCR test result is entitled to a certificate of recovery. The PCR test must not be older than 90 days. The certificate of recovery is valid in Germany from the 28th day after the PCR test and for a period of 90 days after the PCR test.
You can obtain the digital recovery certificate in pharmacies, medical practices and health departments.
If you have not received a vaccination before recovery, you will need two vaccinations to be considered basic immunized again.
How long is the digital vaccination certificate valid?
Validity in Germany
The certificate for a booster vaccination is valid indefinitely.
After 365 days, the so-called technical validity expires within the CovPass app. The certificate can be renewed with a few clicks.
Cross-border travel to the EU
In deviation from the IfSG regulations applicable in Germany, the following must be observed when traveling to other EU member states:
The EU Commission has established an EU-wide recognition period of at least 270 days for the EU digital vaccination certificate after completion of basic immunization (i.e., after two vaccination doses). This regulation has been applied since February 1, 2022.
The certificate for a booster vaccination is valid indefinitely.
For under 18-year-olds, the vaccination certificate on completion of basic immunization is also valid indefinitely.
Is the Digital Vaccination Record also valid abroad?
The EU COVID Digital Certificates for vaccination or recovery can be used in EU countries and in many other non-EU countries.
Show the certificate with the QR code in the CovPass app or in paper form. The yellow vaccination certificate is also still valid as proof.
In the CovPass app, you can check without obligation whether your digital COVID certificates are valid before traveling. For this, the entry rules of the selected travel country are taken into account. Please note that these can change at any time at short notice.
Information on the corona measures and travel restrictions applicable in each European country can be found, among other places, at https://reopen.europa.eu/de. Updating is the responsibility of the respective countries.
Who is considered fully vaccinated in Germany?
As of October 1, 2022, in Germany, according to Section 22a (1) of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), proof of three events is required to be considered fully vaccinated. Of these, at least two events must be vaccinations (3 vaccinations or 2 vaccinations and 1 infection). To show this, a person must have undergone one of the following scenarios:
- Three vaccinations, with the last vaccination administered at least three months after the second vaccination.
- Two vaccinations and a subsequent infection, where the infection has been detected by a PCR test, and 28 days have passed since testing.
- One vaccination and one infection detected by a PCR test and one subsequent vaccination.
- One infection detected by a PCR test followed by two vaccinations.
- One positive antibody test followed by two vaccinations.
Why do I get the message "Changes to your certificates" in the CovPass app?
I have changed my name (marriage, divorce etc.). What do I have to do?
Once you have an identification document with your new name, you can get a new certificate in a pharmacy.
How can I delete my data or individual certificates in the CovPass app?
When you delete the CovPass app, all of your stored data is also removed.
If you want to remove individual certificates from the app, click on the QR code on the start screen and go to the overview of your certificates under "Manage certificates". Select the desired certificates and delete them by clicking on the trash can icon (top right).
Why is an incomplete vaccination status indicated for children under 12 years of age, even if they have been vaccinated 2x?
The status "fully vaccinated" in the CovPass app is based on the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). The requirements for complete vaccination protection in the IfSG do not differentiate according to age. They therefore also apply to children under 12 years of age. The recommendations of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) deviate from the IfSG (Epidemiologisches Bulletin 40/2022).
In practice, however, this has no effect, since proof of complete vaccination protection is currently not required.
Questions about the CovPass app
How does the CovPass app work?
With the CovPass app, you can provide secure, digital proof of COVID vaccinations or recovery from a COVID infection as needed.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate contains a QR code. Scan the QR code in the CovPass-App. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is then stored in the app. A QR code can be generated as proof of every single COVID vaccine dose administered. The QR codes are displayed in the app directly after being scanned.
When the QR code is checked with the official CovPassCheck app, only the information required for verification is displayed: the status of the certificate, and the certificate holder’s full name and date of birth. Simply present the QR code in the CovPass app.
Using the CovPass app is voluntary.
Am I required to use the CovPass app?
No. You can decide for yourself whether you want to use the CovPass app. Using it is voluntary. The aim of the CovPass app is to verify EU Digital COVID Certificates quickly and securely. You can delete the app at any time. If you delete the app, all of the information saved on the app is removed from your smartphone. Alternatively, you can prove your COVID immunity with the printed vaccination certificate or the yellow vaccination record.
Where can I download the CovPass app?
The CovPass app can be downloaded free of charge for iOS and Android from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery.
Is the app available in English as well?
The language can be changed to English in the mobile phone settings.
Which smartphones support the CovPass app?
The CovPass app is supported by iOS version 12.0 and later and Android version 6.0 and later. Your smartphone must have a camera in order to scan the QR codes.
The app has been developed with the systems used by the majority of the population in mind.
Why do I get the message "Changes to your certificates" in the CovPass app?
As of February 2022, certain certificates that provide evidence of a second vaccination will EU-wide no longer be issued with the number 2/2, but with the number 2/1. This concerns the following cases:
- Second vaccination after a first vaccination with Johnson & Johnson.
- Second vaccination after a recovery and a first vaccination (booster)
If you receive a corresponding message in your CovPass app asking you to renew your certificate, one of the above cases applies to you. Your deposited certificate does not comply with the current EU requirements for numbering certificates and should therefore be adjusted using the reissue function in the app. This is important so that your booster vaccination is recognized by the CovPassCheck app during examinations.
After the successful renewal, both the old certificate (2/2) and the new certificate (2/1) are stored. You no longer need the old certificate and it can be deleted.
What QR code can I scan with the CovPass app?
The CovPass app can only scan vaccination certificates (QR codes) that meet European specifications. These certificates are titled "EU Digital COVID Certificate". They are issued by vaccination centres, doctors’ practices, health departments and pharmacies. Other QR codes that are issued in connection with COVID-19 vaccinations (e.g. invitation codes for a vaccination appointment, proof of vaccination that does not meet European certificate specifications) are not designed for the CovPass app and are not recognised by the app.
Why is my QR code not scanning?
- Make sure that you have presented the QR code on the vaccination certificate entitled "EU Digital COVID Certificate". You can get this certificate in vaccination centres, doctors’ practices. health departments or pharmacies.
- Make sure that your smartphone can scan the QR code properly. Move the phone back and forth and change the distance from the camera to the QR code. It often helps to increase the distance.
- Stay in a bright environment or turn on the flashlight function in the app.
- Make sure the sheet is flat on the table and has no bulge or crease on the QR code.
- Make sure that the app is up to date (update it in the app store if necessary and then restart it).
- Check your operating system: the CovPass app is supported by iOS version 12.0 and later and Android version 6.0 and later.
- Have you already scanned a certificate before and then deleted it again? In that case, please delete the app and reinstall it. Now scanning the code should work again.
- Make sure you are using the CovPass app and NOT the CovPassCheck app.
Can I store certificates in the app for more than one person?
Digital Vaccination Records and recovery certificates for children, partners and other relatives can be stored together on one smartphone.
What personal data is stored in the CovPass app and in the QR code?
All important COVID immunity information is stored in the CovPass app for a vaccination certificate: the certificate holder’s full name and date of birth, the disease targeted (COVID), vaccine, product, manufacturer, dose number, date of vaccination, country and issuer of the technical certificate and the unique ID number of the certificate (UVCI).
All important test information is stored for a test certificate: the certificate holder’s full name and date of birth, the disease targeted (being tested for), type of test, product name, test manufacturer, date and time of test sample collection, the result of the test, testing centre or facility, country of testing, certificate issuer and certificate ID.
All important recovery information is stored for a recovery certificate: the certificate holder’s full name and date of birth, the disease from which the holder has recovered, date of the holder’s first positive test result, country of testing, certificate issuer, validity and certificate ID.
The QR code contains the same data as the EU Digital COVID Certificate. When the QR code is checked with the CovPassCheck app, however, only the status of the certificate and the certificate holder’s full name and date of birth are displayed.
Where is my data stored?
When the EU Digital COVID Certificates are created, your data is collected once by the issuing body (vaccination centre, doctor’s practice, pharmacy) and transmitted to the RKI for signing. The data is then deleted immediately. When you add the EU Digital COVID Certificate to the app, your personal data is only managed locally on your smartphone.
How is misuse of my data prevented?
The EU Digital COVID Certificates can only be issued by authorised persons. The certificates are secured against manipulation and falsification by means of a cryptographic signature. An ID document must also be presented when the EU Digital COVID Certificate is being verified.
Is my data removed when the CovPass app is deleted?
Yes. All of your data stored in the CovPass app is completely removed when the application is deleted.
Can I present the QR code even without an internet connection?
Yes. As soon as the QR code is displayed in the CovPass-App, you can present it at any time without an internet connection.
Why do I only see one QR code on the start screen of the CovPass app, even though I have stored multiple certificates?
The certificates in the app are displayed according to a specified order. For example, a valid certificate is always displayed with priority on the home screen.
What data is displayed when the QR code is checked?
For verification, you can present the QR code with the CovPass-App. After the QR code is scanned in the CovPassCheck-App, the following information is displayed for a vaccination or recovery certificate: the validity of the certificate, the full name and date of birth.
What do I do if I lose or change my smartphone?
If the smartphone is lost or changed, the EU Digital COVID Certificate must be uploaded to the app again. To do this, download the CovPass-App on your new smartphone and scan the certificate again.
Alternatively, you can prove your immunity with printed records or the yellow vaccination record.
What about people who do not have a smartphone?
Individuals without a smartphone can prove their COVID immunity with the printed EU Digital COVID Certificate or the yellow vaccination record. The EU Digital COVID Certificates for recovery and COVID testing can also be presented as printouts.
How accessible is the CovPass app for people with disabilities?
For information on the accessibility of the CovPass app, see the following pages:
Do I need to keep the printouts of the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
It is advisable to keep the printouts so that you can rescan them if you lose or change your smartphone.
In addition, you can also show the printout as proof of your vaccination protection should your smartphone be inoperable at the time or should you not have it to hand.
Can I download my certificate as a PDF?
You can download your certificates stored in the CovPass app by clicking on the button "create PDF" in the detail view of your certificates and print it out if required.
Questions about the CovPassCheck app
How does the CovPassCheck app work?
The CovPassCheck app is for individuals who wish to verify the validity of an EU Digital COVID Certificate in the legally defined situations, digitally and in compliance with data protection regulations.
To do so, the person whose COVID status is being checked presents the QR code in the CovPass app, the Corona-Warn-App or the printed EU Digital COVID Certificate. The checking person scans the QR-code with the CovPassCheck app and immediately sees if the person being verified holds a valid certificate for COVID vaccination, recovery from COVID infection or a negative COVID test result.
Only the status of the certificate, the certificate holder’s full name and date of birth are visible. The CovPassCheck app processes the QR code only in the smartphone's memory and does not store any data.
An ID document is also required for comparison against the certificate data.
Where can I download the CovPassCheck app?
The CovPassCheck app can be downloaded free of charge for iOS and Android from the App Store, Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery.
What are the system requirements for the CovPassCheck app?
The CovPassCheck app is supported by iOS version 12.0 and later and Android version 6.0 and later. Your smartphone needs a camera in order to make full use of the CovPassCheck app.
Can I check the validity of certificates without an internet connection?
Yes, in principle it is possible to scan and check the QR codes in offline mode. However, please use the CovPassCheck app regularly with an Internet connection so that the checking rules and the list of trusted certificate issuers can update.
How accessible is the CovPassCheck app for people with disabilities?
For information on the accessibility of the CovPassCheck app, see the following pages:
Questions about the vaccination certificate service
As a doctor, how do I issue a recovery certificate?
Any individual who has been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and can verify this with a positive PCR test is eligible for a recovery certificate. The PCR test must be no older than 90 days. The certificate is valid from the 28th day after the positive PCR test.
If more than 90 days have passed, no recovery certificate can be issued.
Instructions for creating the certificate can be found here: Materials for download.
How do medical practices and dentists receive the access details for the certificate service?
Medical practices are connected centrally via the telematics infrastructure (TI) of the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztliche Vereinigungen, KV) of the Federal States. You receive the access details from your KV.
Dental practices that cannot issue certificates via the PVS system have the option of doing so by downloading the desktop client. This requires access to the telematics infrastructure, as well as a working internet connection. The associated manuals can be found under Materials for download.
How do pharmacies receive the access details for the certificate service?
Pharmacies are provided a solution through the association portal of the German Association of Pharmacists (DAV). Please get in touch with the responsible contact person or the Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Apothekerverbände e.V. (Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists).
How do hospitals recieve access data for the certificate service?
Hospitals that wish to vaccinate more than their own staff also have the option of issuing vaccination and recovery certificates by downloading the desktop client. The prerequisite for this is access to the telematics infrastructure and a functioning Internet connection. The request for connection must be made via the collective mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org of the Deutsche Krankenhaus TrustCenter und Informationsverarbeitung GmbH (DKTIG). For more information on downloading the web application, see Materials for download
Can we use materials from the website?
You are very welcome to use all videos and other materials in connection with vaccinations and certificates.
As an issuer, how can I be sure that the vaccination record is an authentic document?
After a COVID vaccine is administered, a sticker for the batch is affixed to the yellow vaccination record next to the signature and stamp. The tool cannot verify whether the vaccination is authentic. Vaccinations are not recorded centrally in Germany.
What is the Desktop Client?
The Desktop Client is a desktop application for medical practices that simplifies the issuing of the EU COVID Digital Certificates. The patient's personal data is automatically transferred to the vaccination certificate software via health card. Access to the telematics infrastructure is required.
Detailed instructions for use can be found on this page: Material for download
How do I install and use the vaccination certificate service?
Step-by-step instructions for installation, registration and use, as well as further informational material, can be found for download on the following page:
What data do I need to record in the vaccination certificate service?
Enter the following data in the input fields: First name(s), surname, date of birth.
The name must be written exactly the same way it appears in the presented ID.
Select the following fields: vaccine, date of vaccination and vaccine dose. Additional information such as the disease targeted, product, manufacturer, country, overall number of doses and issuer of the technical certificate are automatically added by the vaccination certificate service. No personal data is permanently stored at a central location.
As a company doctor, how can I use the vaccination certificate service?
As a company doctor, you have two ways to issue certificates of vaccination and recovery:
Interface to RKI certificate service from the separate standard software system. The specific technical requirements for this must be clarified with IBM Germany and are documented on GitHub GitHub.
Preconfigured standard systems that already have an interface to the RKI certificate service.
In both cases you need an official unique ID number as a vaccination clinic. You receive this through your professional association or from Bundesdruckerei.
More information can be found at https://digitaler-impfnachweis-app.de/en/company-doctors.
What is the Digital Vaccination Record?
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a way of documenting COVID vaccinations and recoveries from COVID infection, and conveniently verifying them on your smartphone. It can be issued by a vaccination center, medical practice, pharmacy or health department.
The EU COVID Digital Certificates can be added to the CovPass app by scanning the QR codes. The CovPass app manages the certificates locally on the user's smartphone.
The app can be downloaded free of charge from the usual app stores.
Who is providing the Digital Vaccination Record?
The Digital Vaccination Record is a project of the Federal Ministry of Health. The application was developed by UBIRCH, IBM Germany, govdigital and Bechtle. The Robert Koch Institute is the publisher responsible for the application design and for careful inspection to ensure that data protection and data security requirements are met.
How do adults and children get the digital EU Digital COVID Certificate?
All vaccinated citizens can receive an EU Digital COVID Certificate if desired. This certificate is issued in vaccination centres, medical practices, health departments or pharmacies. Bring proof of your received COVID vaccination(s) or your yellow vaccination record and an ID document to receive your certificate. A separate certificate with a QR code is issued for every single vaccine dose.
On www.mein-apothekenmanager.de you fill find participating pharmacies.
Recovery certificates are issued by medical practices, health departments and pharmacies.
Test certificates are available at test centres and medical laboratories. These can be converted into EU certificates via the Corona-Warn-App.
Children must identify themselves with their own official photo ID (student ID, children's ID card or children's passport) or with their birth certificate and their parents' identification documents.
Will the yellow vaccination record continue to be valid?
Yes. The yellow vaccination record of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is an internationally recognised document that you can generally continue to use as proof of your vaccinations.
In individual cases, the federal states make independent regulations according to which only the digital proof of vaccination (including the paper form) is still accepted. Therefore, please inform yourself about the current regulations of the respective federal states.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination certificate in a pharmacy?
Vaccination certificates are issued free of charge for citizens. If a pharmacy asks for money for this, this should be reported to the responsible Apothekerkammer (chamber of pharmacists).
Is a central vaccination register planned?
No, a central register is not planned. Your certificates can be stored on your smartphone on a voluntary basis. Anyone can decide for themselves whether and when they delete this data.
Where can I find information about COVID vaccination?
The most up-to-date information can always be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health (only available in German), in the FAQ of the RKI (only available in German), on the Website of the Federal Government (only available in German) and on the Together-Against-Corona platform.
Is the implementation of the digital COVID certificates financially supported by the EU?
The implementation of the digital COVID certificates is financially supported by the EU's Emergency Support Instrument (ESI- European Structural and Investment Fund).
The Emergency Support Instrument was created by the EU Commission in the course of the Corona crisis and bundles measures and resources to quickly respond to the immediate consequences of the pandemic.
Questions about the technical details
What data is collected and processed?
No data is stored centrally concerning the Digital Vaccination Record.
To create the EU Digital COVID Certificate in the vaccination centres, doctors’ practices and pharmacies, the minimum required data is collected and encoded, such as the certificate holder’s full name and date of birth, the vaccine, date of vaccination and vaccine dose. Additional information such as the disease targeted, product, manufacturer, country, overall number of doses and issuer of the technical certificate are automatically added by the vaccination certificate service. The data is then deleted immediately.
How is the structure of the QR code defined?
The QR code is a CBOR web token containing the certificate with personal information, such as name and date of birth, and vaccination information. The exact structure is defined by a guideline of the EU eHealth Group.
Why is "itunes.apple.com" listed in the iOS 15.2 privacy report?
When the CovPass app and the CovPassCheck app are started, a check is carried out to determine whether a new version is available. For this purpose, direct communication is established with the app store.
Who signs the data?
The data is digitally signed on behalf of the Robert Koch Institute in an especially secure system from UBIRCH. Only authorised persons and data collection systems have access to it. UBIRCH does not store any personal data.
Why has an open source approach been used?
We believe that the success of the solution depends directly on the acceptance and trust of the individuals using it.
The selected open source approach allows for the entire source code for the app and infrastructure to be accessed freely and without restrictions. In doing so, we hope to offer the transparency needed to cultivate a solid foundation of trust. The open source approach also allows the public and the developer community to actively contribute to the success of the solution, in the form of reviews and pull requests, for example.
Is disclosing the source code in this open source approach not a cybersecurity risk?
The open source community actually makes the software more secure because the source code is open and available, and anyone interested can download it and check it line by line.
We believe that lack of transparency does not guarantee security. This is why we are choosing an open source approach.
Why GitHub and not some other platform?
We consider GitHub to be a very well established and appropriately respected platform for open source projects. GitHub is the world’s largest open source platform with over 40 million registered users and more than 100 million repositories, of which >30 million are publicly accessible.
Take part on GitHub: https://github.com/digitaler-impfnachweis/
Anyone who does not wish to create a GitHub account can still view the code without an account.
Update: March 16, 2023