A new app has been launched that allows people living in Northern Ireland to access and download their Covid passport.
The Department of Health has launched CovidCertNI to make it easier for people to access their Covid pass and eliminate the need to request a paper copy that can take up to several days.
The new app, designed by software company Civica with Digital Health and Care in Northern Ireland and the Digital Transformation Service, is now available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play.
The Northern Ireland Department of Health confirmed that the application has been developed to meet EU and World Health Organization (WHO) standards, including a QR code to allow verification of user with more security.
It also includes facial recognition to make sure the photo uploaded to the system matches the user’s. The app can be used to demonstrate vaccination status whenever needed, including on public transportation and when attending sporting or other social events.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Covid-19 has created many challenges since it hit our shores last February and our new digital tools have helped us respond.
“The CovidCertNI app is the third new smartphone app produced by my department since last year. It will allow international travelers to access their vaccination records and display a digital certificate.
“There have been great efforts to get this digital platform to reach this stage.”
The covid passports have been available in paper format in Northern Ireland since early July.
But the government warned that there may be delays or “capacity issues” in accessing the Covid digital passport service due to its popularity.
Users are currently being asked to download and use the app only if they travel until the end of July.
Government guidelines state that those traveling abroad will still have to meet the requirements of the country they are visiting, i.e. a Covid passport is not a guarantee to skip quarantine.
Dr Eddie O’Neil, director of the Covid Certification Service at the Northern Ireland Department of Health, said: “The new service is essential to support NI citizens to meet emerging international certification standards, which allow biosecure travel.
“A simplified and easy-to-use process will make it easier and faster for people to access their certificate on their personal computer or via smartphone, providing comfort and peace of mind to people who want to travel.”
Mark Owens, Managing Director of Civica for NI, added: “Last year gave us all recognition for the transformative power of data-driven smart digital technologies. Applications and other digital solutions played a crucial role in ensuring that we could live, work and travel as safely as possible, despite the rampant global pandemic.
“CovidCertNI will authorize ordinary citizens to access and download their vaccination certificate at the click of a button, ensuring they can continue to live their lives while ensuring the safety of the community at large.”
Covid passports in England and Wales
In England, season tickets are available through the NHS app, which already allowed users to access various NHS services from their smartphone or tablet, including vaccination logs.
Users can check their vaccination status through the app if their GP allows it. This applies to all vaccines.
To use the app you must be registered with a GP in England. The government recommends people to sign up for the app before booking international travel and at least two weeks before the departure date.
Access to Covid Wales passports requires an NHS login to allow access to the NHS Covid Pass website. People living in Wales but registered with a GP in England may need to download the NHS application to access their Covid-19 passport.
Currently, Covid-19 passports can only be used once a person has had a full course of vaccinations, that is, both times.
You can learn more about Covid passports and how they work in ours explainer here.