Electronic certificate of vaccination (e-certificate of vaccination)

The electronic certificate of vaccination can be used as part of the electronic patient record (ePA). It helps avoid missed vaccinations. Read on to discover the other possibilities it offers too.

At a glance

  • Insured persons can use the electronic certificate of vaccination as part of their electronic patient record (ePA).
  • The e-certificate of vaccination has the same content as the yellow vaccination record booklet.
  • The e-certificate of vaccination offers patients a better overview and helps them avoid missing any recommended vaccinations.
  • The digital version can also be configured to provide automatic reminders.
  • As the e-certificate of vaccination is stored in the ePA, you can no longer lose it or leave it at home by accident.
  • As with the electronic patient record, use of the electronic certificate of vaccination is voluntary.

Note: The information in this article cannot and should not replace a medical consultation and must not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.

Electronic certificate of vaccination (E-Impfpass): close-up of a vaccination pass with record of vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella.

What is an electronic certificate of vaccination?

Every vaccination that you received from your doctor was previously recorded in writing in a small yellow booklet known as the “Impfbuch” (“vaccination record booklet”).

From 2022, you are able to choose whether you want vaccinations to be recorded in the yellow vaccination record booklet and/or in the electronic certificate of vaccination (“Impfpass”), which is part of your electronic patient record (ePA). Please note that the same choice should ideally be made for all vaccinations.

To use the electronic certificate of vaccination, you must have created an electronic patient record (ePA) and grant the medical practice access to this so that new vaccination entries can be added.

If you decide to use the electronic certificate of vaccination, all the information about your vaccinations will be stored in your ePA. You will then be able to use the ePA app on your smartphone or tablet at any time to check if you have received all the necessary vaccinations to be protected against tick-borne encephalitis, for example.

Important: The electronic certificate of vaccination must not be confused with the digital COVID certificate (digitaler Impfnachweis) issued following COVID-19 vaccinations. The “digitaler Impfnachweis” solely provides proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The electronic certificate of vaccination, on the other hand, is a digital copy of the yellow vaccination record booklet and part of the electronic patient record.

What are the advantages of the electronic certificate of vaccination?

The electronic certificate of vaccination offers several advantages over the yellow vaccination record booklet:

Better availability

The electronic certificate of vaccination makes it easier to fully document vaccinations. This is because many people do not have their paper vaccination card readily to hand and rarely look at it. Unlike the yellow vaccination record booklet, the data in the electronic patient record cannot be lost as it is stored in the secure telematics infrastructure.

Better care

With the electronic certificate of vaccination, all you need to do to obtain an overview of any existing or upcoming vaccinations is quickly check the ePA app: which vaccinations have already been administered? Which vaccinations are due soon?

You can use the app to grant your medical practice access to the electronic certificate of vaccination. This enables your doctor to discuss your vaccination status with you and add new entries.

If you change doctor or medical practice, the new practice can immediately see which vaccinations have already been administered – and avoid vaccinations that are not required. Depending on your health insurance provider’s ePA app, reminders can be used to notify you of any vaccinations that will soon be due.

The electronic certificate of vaccination is a quick and easy way to check for any gaps in your vaccination record.

Automation

As many of the fields in the electronic certificate of vaccination can be completed automatically, data transmission errors can be avoided.

What are the advantages of the electronic certificate of vaccination for normal examinations?

As with the paper booklet, information about previously experienced diseases and detected antibodies can also be noted in the electronic certificate of vaccination.

As this information is recorded in the electronic certificate of vaccination in a standardized and structured data format, the medical practice’s management system can compare this data with your other health information.

This provides doctors with a full picture that enables more efficient patient care – providing you have authorized the practice to access your data of course.

May I use the printed and electronic certificates of vaccination in parallel?

This is theoretically possible. However, because this could lead to inconsistencies and additional effort, it is recommended that you choose one or the other.

The paper certificate of vaccination will continue to exist in parallel for certain situations. For example, to enter some countries, evidence of travel vaccinations with a note and official stamp has to be provided in the yellow vaccination record booklet. In such cases, you will receive this from the medical practice when you are vaccinated, for example.

Who can access my data?

The electronic certificate of vaccination is part of the electronic patient record (ePA). As with the ePA, you decide who has access to your certificate of vaccination and for how long.

For example, you can allow your family doctor to access your electronic certificate of vaccination in relation to an upcoming check-up only or for a longer period.

Apart from you and the authorized medical practice, no one can view your electronic certificate of vaccination because all documents are end-to-end encrypted.

As with the ePA, you decide who has access to your electronic certificate of vaccination and for how long.

On what is the electronic version of the certificate of vaccination based?

In Germany, § 22 of the Infectious Diseases Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz – IfSG) governs exactly how and where vaccinations have to be documented. The German certificate of vaccination is based on the international certificate of vaccination (ICV) from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Further information

If you have any questions about the structure or use of the electronic certificate of vaccination, please contact your health insurance provider.

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