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Northern Ireland Covid certification system: your questions answered


The system should be available by July 19

The system should be available by July 19

The system should be available by July 19

We answer your questions on Northern Ireland’s vaccine certification system.

What Covid certification system is being delivered here?

Developers are working to deliver Northern Ireland’s vaccine certification system, which will allow people to show they have had two doses of a Covid vaccine if planning to visit countries which require it as a condition of entry.

Have people already received a certificate?

Coronavirus Data Graphs

So far, 3,175 interim certificates have been issued for travel before July 19, with about 1,000 being processed.

When will the full scheme be available?

It’s expected to start on Monday. Many will choose an app to receive a digital certificate. The printed version will incorporate counterfeit protection measures. People travelling before then can still apply for a paper certificate via the NI Direct website.

Will full certificates be issued in time for flights next week?

The interim service has been struggling to keep up with demand, so apply early when the full scheme starts. If a country accepts alternatives to the certificate, such as a recent PCR test, be prepared to use that.

Will a non-digital alternative be available?

The Department of Health hopes to set up a non-digital route which will allow people to phone a helpline and be sent a printed certificate, with a lead time of around 10 days.

Will a certificate for indoor hospitality be developed here?

There are no plans. The Department of Health said: “The system of Covid vaccine certification has been developed to support international travel. The issue of domestic vaccine certification would be a matter for the Executive as a whole to consider.”

What do they have in the Republic?

The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) allows more international travel without restrictions and is due to come into effect next Monday. Those who are fully vaccinated or can show they have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months, and those with negative PCR tests taken within 72 hours of departure, can avail of it.

What else can it be used for?

The DCC can be used for indoor hospitality when it reopens this month. Official proof of vaccination in Northern Ireland can be used for indoor hospitality in the Republic. But it’s advisable to have proof of identity with a photograph, such as a driving licence, as a support document for indoor service in pubs and restaurants.

Who can get a certificate?

Those who are vaccinated by the HSE will receive the certificate. Politicians have indicated Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland will be able to access the DCC, but they have yet to explain how they will be able to do so.

What’s happening in Europe?

The EU’s digital Covid certificate is being rolled out across all 27 member nations as well as in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein and can be downloaded or carried as a paper copy at no cost.

What about England?

There will be no legal obligation to show any certification to access mass events when lockdown eases, Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this month.

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