Self-experiment: digital vaccination certificate in Lower Saxony as download


The Lower Saxony vaccination portal recently started offering all vaccinated people the digital vaccination certificate for download. The PDF document with a QR code can, for example, be loaded into the apps provided on the smartphone. However, there is one important prerequisite: Currently, the certificate can only be requested by vaccinated persons on the website of the state of Lower Saxony if the vaccination took place in a vaccination center.

If you accept the data protection regulations on the website of the Lower Saxony vaccination portal, the next step is to choose “Digital vaccination certificate” – in addition to the usual options for booking or canceling appointments. You will then be asked to enter your telephone number and the number-letter mix from the captcha field. There it says: “To check your identity, we will send you a code on your mobile phone.” Alternatively, you can also enter a landline number and the code will then be read out to you.

In both cases we entered an existing telephone number and both the SMS and the announcement via the landline worked. However, with the landline solution you have to listen carefully, as the computer-generated voice speaks very quickly and announces the six-digit code as the total number, and not digit to digit. Then something like “five hundred and twenty-two thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight” comes out at. However, the announcement is repeated several times. How exactly the identity was verified in this way is questionable, since only one of the two telephone numbers was used for registration for the vaccination. In this context, the data entered here has apparently not been linked to the personal data available in the system.

Once this hurdle has been overcome, the declaration of consent to the issue of the digital “COVID-19 vaccination certificate” follows in the form of consent to a further data protection declaration (PDF) and the exhibition approval. In the next step, after entering the required data, you will receive the digital vaccination certificate as a download.

Required entries include first name, last name, date of birth, date of vaccination and batch of vaccination. The vaccination batch can be found on the sticker on the vaccination card. In our case, entering the second batch of vaccination was sufficient to show both vaccinations in the vaccination certificate that was subsequently received. One page per vaccination appointment and certificate. The download of the digital vaccination certificate is initiated automatically after it has been successfully entered. In our case, however, the Safari browser on macOS 11 Big Sur prevented the pop-up window. To open it, the user has to know how to recognize a blocked pop-up and then manually allow it. In Safari, for example, only a small icon appears in the address bar.

Scanning into both the Corona-Warn-App (CWA) and the CovPass-App works without any problems. With the QR code on the first page, the CovPass app shows “Incomplete: 1 of 2 vaccinations”; when the second code is scanned, the display changes to “Complete vaccination protection”. If you scan the QR code for the second vaccination directly, you will immediately be certified as having full vaccination protection in the app, with the date of the second vaccination. If the first vaccination was scanned first and then the second, the first vaccination will also be displayed, but the second will be marked as “Certificate currently in use”. The first and second vaccinations can also be scanned in the Corona warning app.

The CovPass app shows the QR code over almost two thirds of the screen when it is opened. In the CWA, after the app is closed, the start page opens as usual. You can only get to the certificates via the Certificates menu at the bottom of the screen and after selecting the digital vaccination certificate, the QR code is displayed. This should be taken into account at least with the CovPass app. The apps and their behavior were tested on an iPhone with iOS 14.6 and the current versions of the apps (CovPass version 1.3.0, CWA version 2.4.2).