Advertisement for digital proof of vaccination (in a pharmacy in Berlin): »I don't know whether that's meant like that«
Photo: Paul Zinken / dpa
The digital proof of vaccination promises a piece of regained freedom, be it by eliminating the constant rapid tests or when traveling in Europe.
The rush to the pharmacies that issue the evidence is correspondingly large.
But they have to struggle at least in part with technical and organizational difficulties, which customers also feel.
On Monday it was the mein-apothekenmanager.de page, on which the participating pharmacies can be accessed, which was temporarily overloaded.
On Tuesday, it was then apparently the server of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) that could not be reached.
Between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., the pharmaceutical technical assistant Samina Mir from Hamburg reported on Twitter, her pharmacy could not issue any evidence.
A SPIEGEL reporter also found that a pharmacy in Hamburg had to put off its customers because of this.
The RKI still owes the answer to the question of whether its own server was overloaded: »Of course we could answer this question directly, but to cope with the large number of inquiries to the various parties involved, we have made an agreement that the BMG will centralize these inquiries answered. "
The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) in turn answered the question of whether the RKI server was overloaded on Tuesday as follows: "In a very short time, around 7 million digital vaccination certificates were created up to yesterday." The great demand meant that "the servers and the data flows between the large number of participants (IT in vaccination centers, medical practices, mobile teams as well as pharmacies) had to be optimized.
This required short-term interruptions in operations today. «The statement came on Wednesday, raising more questions than it answers.
Unsuitable responses from the ministry
Samina Mir also described other weak points in the system. On the one hand, these affect people who only receive one dose of vaccine due to a corona infection that has already been overcome. I wrote that there was »no way to enter an infection that has passed through. Which is VERY relevant because these people only get one vaccination and that is considered a second vaccination. We recently entered them like this. I don't know if that's the way it is meant, nobody has been able to tell us that.
Jens Zimmermann from Fellbach in Swabia is also affected. The sports presenter and stadium announcer was in a pharmacy in Stuttgart on Tuesday. He had only been vaccinated once because he had already gone through the corona infection. The result: an unusable digital vaccination certificate, because both in the Corona warning app and in the CovPass app it says for him that the vaccination status is incomplete. His pharmacist had never thought of entering the vaccination as the second vaccination.
Zimmermann calls the current weaknesses of the system "an indictment of poverty for Germany". For professional reasons, the vaccination certificate is his constant companion, and he also wants to go on vacation next week. "So I made a conscious effort to find the digital solution on Tuesday - unfortunately unsuccessfully," he told SPIEGEL. »How can you forget the group of those who have recovered and have been vaccinated once or those who have been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when programming? This is an absolute mystery to me - not to mention the additional costs. At some point you will have to go to the pharmacist again, and he will (rightly) pay for it again. "
In the FAQ of the Ministry of Health it says: "In the future, negative tests or an infection that has gone through will be stored in the CovPass app and also in the Corona warning app in the next development stage (until the end of June) as a test certificate or recovery certificate." The Ministry replied to SPIEGEL with exactly the same sentence.
On the other hand, Samina Mir reported on the cumbersome operation of the detection system. It is not possible to enter both vaccinations of a person who has been vaccinated twice at once. The pharmacies were told in a circular to register every vaccination, not just the second (for those who did not get the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson) crucial. If someone makes a mistake when making an entry, you have to start from the beginning, because "the circular also stated that in such cases we should not go to 'change data' under any circumstances, but to the start page again."
The system means a lot of work for pharmacies, but at least 18 euros are paid for each proof. For people like Jens Zimmermann it means: even if they are among the first to be considered vaccinated, the digital certificate intended for them will not be available until the end of June. The ministry is not more precise when asked.