As at Friday, January 15th, around 87,000 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Austria.
The coronavirus vaccination scheme has coincided with the digitalisation of Austria’s vaccination card.
The “E-Vaccination Certificate” (E-Impfpass) has been created to store all vaccination data centrally.
Eventually, the paper certificates which have been issued in Austria for decades will be replaced by the digitalised version.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is the E-Vaccination Certificate (E-Impfpass)?
The E-Vaccination Certificate (E-Impfpass) is a digital document which records the vaccinations people have had.
Information such as the type of vaccine and the number of doses administered are stored in the digital document.
The certificate is produced by Austria’s ELGA (elektronische Gesundheitsakte) organisation.
Eventually, the electronic system will be integrated with an app, while there is also the scope to send SMS reminders for people to get vaccinated or to receive their second dose.
Is it new?
Yes and no. The digitalised version is of course new, but the document itself isn’t.
Instead, the digital version replaces the ‘little yellow paper booklet’ that millions of Austrians are familiar with.
Is the paper document being replaced?
Yes, but not immediately.
In an interview with Austria’s Die Presse in December 2020, ELGA boss Franz Leisch said that the paper vaccination card was being phased out in favour of the “better” electronic version.
Do I need to register for the e-vaccination certificate?
No. Everyone in Austria has already had one created for them – there is no need to register.
I don’t like the sound of that – can I unsubscribe or delete my electronic certificate?
No. Unlike Austria’s “electronic health record” you cannot opt out of the electronic certificate scheme.
Is it recording coronavirus vaccinations?
Yes. As at Friday, January 15th, half of the vaccinations made already have been recorded in the booklet, with the others set to be added as soon as possible.
The reason that this information has not yet been added is that vaccination centres do not have the appropriate hardware and software to do so yet – however all vaccination information has been recorded on paper and will be uploaded asap.
In some states such as Vienna, all vaccinations have already been entered into the electronic certificate.
“The coronavirus vaccinations in Vienna have been documented in the electronic vaccination card since the first day, December 27,” a spokesperson for Vienna’s City Council told ORF.
What is the information used for?
For individuals the e-booklet is a record of all of the vaccinations that have been received so far.
At this stage, there are no indications that the data in the booklet will be used to create certain privileges or rights for individuals, for instance entry to certain events or permission to do certain jobs.
This has however not been ruled out by the Austrian government.
For the state, the data can be used to see how the vaccination rollout is being handled.
The chairman of the conference of social security agencies, Peter Lehner, told ORF that the information can be used to assess the daily vaccination rate.
This information is valuable in looking at how vaccinations have impacted the spread of the virus in certain areas, for instance.
How is vaccination data recorded?
A slight sticking point has been the way in which the data is recorded.
GPs and medical staff must install software which provides them with access to the centralised data.
Once this is done, they can add vaccination information on behalf of recipients.
This is being done at vaccination centres or in vaccination teams (such as those at nursing homes and hospitals) through the use of special tablet computers which have been delivered by the government.
These enable data to be entered simultaneously when vaccinations are carried out.
Who can access my vaccination data?
This is regulated by law.
According to ELGA, the information can be accessed by: Doctors, Pharmacies, Midwives, Hospitals, Group practices, Occupational health centres, Public vaccination centres and Public health services.
Can I see my own data?
Yes of course. This can be done through the ELGA portal.
Parents are also allowed to see the data of their children (under 14).
More information about the certificate can be accessed here, along with contact details for any questions.