Electronic vaccination certificate
The Electronic Vaccination Card (hereinafter: e-vaccination pass) will completely replace the previous paper vaccination pass in the future. The central e-vaccination pass application with the national vaccination register has been used with its basic functions since October 2020, laying the foundation for comprehensive documentation of the Corona vaccinations in the national vaccination register. The e-vaccination pass project is being implemented by ELGA GmbH.
The federal and state governments have committed to creating the framework for the broader use of electronic health services, including what is known as an electronic vaccination card (Art 7 Para 4 of the agreement pursuant to Art 15a B-VG on the organization and financing of the health care system). With the decision of the Federal Target Control Commission of 29 June 2018, the design and financing of the pilot project eImpfpass (e-Vaccination card) as an eHealth application based on the secure ELGA infrastructure was determined. With an amendment to the Health Telematics Act and the new enactment of an eHealth Ordinance, the legal basis for the eHealth application “eVaccination Card” was created.
Parallel to the 2012 amendment to the Health Telematics Act, the responsible Federal Minister issued a new eHealth Ordinance, the sole subject of which is the piloting of the eVaccination Passport. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the originally planned pilot project eImpfpass (e-Vaccination card) was adapted in such a way that it was greatly accelerated by focusing on COVID-19 vaccinations and also with regard to the pilot region (not just some, but all federal states) and the pilot participants (all vaccinating health professions) has been expanded. Not all features of the eVaccination pass are currently available. ELGA GmbH, which is responsible for the pilot project, is already working on an overall plan to deliver additional features, such as personal vaccination calendars or vaccination reminders.
Main objectives of the “eVaccination pass” project
- The replacement of the paper vaccination card or the elimination of the disadvantages associated with paper-based vaccination documentation. In the future, the e-vaccination card will be the primary documentation for citizens. Supplements to the electronic documentation are only necessary in those cases in which only the paper vaccination card (WHO form) is recognised when entering certain countries. With the vaccination recommendations derived from the “Austrian Vaccination Plan” in connection with a reminder system and the possibility of self-recording of previous vaccinations, this goal addresses the citizens directly and helps to show the advantages of the digitalisation of the health care system.
- With the e-vaccination card, a database for statistics is created in which information about vaccinations is stored in a central vaccination register based on standardised specifications from health service providers who vaccinate in Austria. The only way to obtain reliable data on vaccination coverage rates or information on potential gaps in coverage is using this database. This goal is primarily geared towards health authorities responsible for the strategic direction and further development of the vaccination system. It also contributes to the provision of reliable data for the purposes of achieving internationally agreed eradication and elimination targets.
- The aim of the e-vaccination card is to improve outbreak and crisis management. Up to now, searches have had to be carried out manually or by telephone in order to carry out some measures. The use of data from the vaccination register is intended to enable the authorities to take the necessary measures more quickly and potentially in a more targeted manner in the event of an emergency. This aim is thus geared towards the public health system’s responsibility to better protect and care for vulnerable section of the population.
- Finally, the e-vaccination passport is designed to help simplify administration. The administration of free vaccination programmes is currently very complex. Accounting processes are organised in different ways, and the necessary information is sometimes transmitted in manually-compiled lists. This increases the error rate and requires time-consuming follow-up work. The use of the vaccination register as a source of data should make things easier for the agencies involved and increase efficiency in this regard. This objective is therefore also directed at the public health system.
The further development of the ELGA infrastructure led to the technical implementation of the e-vaccination card in order to ensure the satisfaction of the population by optimising care and treatment processes. The eImpfpass (e-Vaccination card) was legally established by means of the insertion of a new 2nd subsection in the 5th Section of the Health Telematics Act regarding eHealth applications: Although the technical infrastructure of the ELGA components is used in whole or in part for the eImpfpass (e-Vaccination card) project as an eHealth application, the eImpfpass (e-Vaccination card) does not fall under the ELGA regulatory regime.
In contrast to the ELGA regulatory regime, citizens have no right to object to the storage of vaccination data in the central vaccination register. The reason being that the objection – in contrast to objections to participation in ELGA – would be contrary to the considerable public interest of society as a whole. In particular, the objection will hinder the responsiveness to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases as well as compliance with commitments to meet international elimination and eradication goals. Citizens therefore have no right to object to the e-vaccination card, but rather other appropriate and specific measures to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the data subjects. In addition to organisational and technical data security measures, this includes, in particular, the right of citizens to information about the data and log data concerning them stored in the central vaccination register. This right can be exercised either electronically via the ELGA access portal or in writing to the ELGA ombudsman’s office.
- Federal law amending the Health Telematics Act (→ BGBl)
- Health Telematics Act (GTelG)
- eHealth Ordinance (eHealthV)
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection