The Northern Ireland Department of Health has launched a new COVID-19 passport app that will make it easier for people to share their vaccine credentials. The app has been dubbed CovidCertNI, and is a joint collaboration between Digital Health and Care Northern Ireland, the Digital Transformation Service, and the software developer Civica.
Like other vaccine passports, CovidCertNI allows people to store a digital record of their vaccination on their smartphone. They can then use the app to prove their vaccination status when traveling, or when entering restaurants, public transit, and entertainment venues. The app uses facial recognition to link a user to their health records, but also uses QR codes to protect that user’s privacy when they need to share that record with another party.
CovidCertNI is intended to serve as a replacement for paper vaccine credentials, which are both inconvenient and unreliable. Northern Ireland has been using paper credentials since early July, but it can take several days to issue a document after a request, and people need to remember to carry those credentials with them when they go about their day. However, the Department of Health has warned that the app may struggle to keep up with user demand during the initial rollout, so residents are being asked to download the app only if they intend to travel to minimize traffic until those bugs can be sorted out.
“The CovidCertNI App is the third new smartphone app produced by my department since last year,” said Health Minister Robin Swann. “It will enable those travelling internationally to access their vaccination records and show a digital certificate.”
“Apps and other digital solutions played a decisive role in ensuring we could live, work and travel as safely as possible, despite the rampant global pandemic,” added Civica Managing Director Mark Owens. “CovidCertNI will empower ordinary citizens to access and download their vaccination certificate at the click of a button, ensuring they can continue living their lives whilst ensuring the safety of the wider community.”
The CovidCertNI app was built in accordance with European Union and World Health Organization standards, and is available for both Android and iOS devices. England and Wales have had access to digital vaccine passport through NHS since May and June, respectively.
Source: Digital Health
July 30, 2021 – by Eric Weiss