Confusion over digital COVID-19 vaccination card applicationTuesday, December 07, 2021
There appear to be issues of clarity surrounding the application/verification process for the digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates which the Ministry of Health and Wellness has promised will be rolled out as of mid-December.
The ministry has not officially announced the verification process, but when the Jamaica Observer enquired, the ministry acknowledged the existence of a portal where it says Jamaicans may go ahead and verify their information.
After advising the public early November that those who have “SII” in the manufacturer slot on their existing paper cards should proceed to any of its permanent vaccination sites to have their cards updated, the ministry said that, if people are not travelling before mid-December they need not rush to get a new card, and could instead await the roll-out of the digital cards.
“The change has become necessary as the ministry seeks to ensure that the vaccination card contains the complete manufacturer's information and to minimise any challenges that Jamaicans may experience while travelling,” the ministry said.
Thousands are affected, mainly individuals who were among the first batch of people who received COVID-19 vaccines between March and April.
However, it is unclear at this time whether those affected are aware that there is an application process for the digital cards. Attempts by a member of our news team to complete the online application process turned up a “no records found” response despite correct entry of the basic information provided during the vaccination process. Redirection to a second webpage then asks the applicant to upload information such as images of the vaccination card and identification. No confirmation number was issued at the end of the process.
A second individual complained that they also came upon a snag on the online portal verifying their information, where it would appear as if their vaccination status is unclear.
“My interpretation of what it was saying to me is that I'm not fully vaccinated,” he said.
There are indications of other issues on the ground, as in the social media space the Observer spotted a complaint that people had been turned back from at least two permanent vaccination sites when they sought to have the manufacturer name and coding rectified.
It is reported that individuals were advised by personnel that the sites were overwhelmed with people requesting corrections, and they could not be issued new cards unless travelling and presented their flight itinerary.
“This is utter nonsense. Now, these are the things that make people reluctant to take up the vaccine offers. There is just too much unnecessary rules and regulations that don't add up. Someone from the ministry needs to address this new development immediately and spare people bus and taxi fares,” one Facebook user ranted.
Asked if this was a ministry directive, Permanent Secretary Dunstan Bryan advised that it is not.