EU Digital COVID Certs: How can you get yours?

Non-essential international travel re-opens from Ireland this day week. From Monday, some 1.9 mil...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.52 12 Jul 2021

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EU Digital COVID Certs: How ca...

EU Digital COVID Certs: How can you get yours?

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.52 12 Jul 2021

Share this article

Non-essential international travel re-opens from Ireland this day week.

From Monday, some 1.9 million EU Digital COVID Certificates will be issued to people who have been fully vaccinated.

Certs will also be available on request to people who have recently recovered from COVID-19, and will be valid for no more than 180 days.


The digital document will provide proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.

The certificate has been in use from July 1st across the EU, with Ireland set to implement it from July 19th to coincide with the resumption of international travel.

The new system will be in place for 12 months.

In total, 1,927,628 people are now fully vaccinated and will be able to access a vaccination certificate.

Those who were vaccinated by their GP will receive the document by post, they who were vaccinated by the HSE will receive it via e-mail.

Vaccination certificates by post

  • 934,975 will be issued by post
  • Approx 150,000 certs have gone out by post on Monday July 12th
  • Similar numbers of certs will be posted each day thereafter
  • This is expected to be fully completed by Tuesday July 20th

Vaccination certificates by e-mail

  • 992,653 will be issued by e-mail
  • The text of the cover e-mail is in Irish and English
  • E-mail releases will begin on Monday evening and will be released on a steady continuous basis until they are all out
  • This is expected to be completed by Thursday

The Department of Health says while issuing e-mails is simpler than by post, attention needs to be paid to the rate of release "to avoid triggering spam filters".

It also says proposals to integrate the EU Digital COVID Certificate with the COVID Tracker App are at "an advanced stage".

The app will be able to carry a 'wallet feature' that stores the COVID Certificate on a phone.

A man holds a phone running the COVID Tracker app A mobile phone showing the Covid-19 tracker app in July 2020. Picture by: Leah Farrell/

People with paper certs will be able to scan their paper cert into their app, so that they will also have a digital cert if they so wish.

A certificate based on a negative COVID-19 test is available through private providers who have signed up to participate as part of Ireland's issuing of the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

A certificate based on recovery can be requested through the HSE helpline.

Newstalk's technology correspondent Jess Kelly told The Hard Shoulder how it's all going to work.

"The cert presents itself as a QR code - the little square image that looks kind of like a barcode - and it will come to your house in a few different ways.

"Either via e-mail if you received your vaccine through the HSE system, or or via the post if you were vaccinated by your GP.

"If you are fully vaccinated, either by your GP or HSE system, you will receive one of these digital certs over the coming days.

"If you get it via e-mail it's going to be on your phone, if you get it via the post it's a piece of paper."

Jess says it is better to keep the original paper version on you.

"They are saying that you can take a photograph of the QR code if it is on paper if you so wish.

"But it's probably safer and your best bet to have the physical paper with you - because anybody who's ever flown with a digital boarding card that's not through the app, it's a downloaded PDF, you may have experienced issues with that in the past.

"And it's the same sort of technology - it's essentially a digital boarding pass.

"It's thought that they will arrive by the end of this week."

Other groups

While those who have recovered from COVID-19 will not automatically receive a document.

Jess explains: "This is something that you need to apply for, you don't automatically get it.

"If your GP, or if you've interacted with any of the HSE services, just because they're aware that you have tested positive for COVID-19 does not mean you'll automatically get your cert.

"You will have to apply for it, it will be a special phone line that you'll need to engage with - that's not up and running as of yet.

"That will hopefully be up and running by July 19th".

For those who are fully vaccinated, and are travelling with someone who is not, Jess says they need to be aware of the current rules around testing.

"This is where you need to comply with what's already in place.

"We're going to have a few different cohorts as we've had the whole way along.

"You're going to have people who are fully vaccinated and who will get their QR code... we then have the cohort of people who have had COVID in the last six months who can apply via this phone number that will be up and running by July 19th.

"And then we have a cohort of people who don't have any of these things, but will do the negative PCR test, which you can get at a testing facility - and they'll then be able to send your QR code to your phone or you can print it out.

"You won't be stopped from travelling if you do have the negative PCR test but not the official COVID passport.

"But what they're saying is: if you get issued this COVID cert, you should bring it with you because it will speed up the entire process".

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar earlier said it will take time to get the certs sent out to everyone.

"It's quite a big operation being led by the Office of Government Procurement, also with the help of the Revenue Commissioners.

"I wouldn't anticipate everyone will get their digital cert today, it might take a little bit longer than that.

"And of course, it'll only go out to people who are fully vaccinated.

"It's important to say that people aren't fully vaccinated until a week or two after their second dose - or two weeks in the case of the Janssen vaccine".

Main image: Composite image shows a woman holding a smartphone to a computer monitor displaying a QR code, and people going on holiday at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Picture by: Patrick Pleul/DPA/PA Images/Utrecht Robin/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

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