Monday 3/8/21
CORONAVIRUS

All you need to know about the Finnish digital vaccination certificate

People could display the certificate on their phones or have it printed on paper.
28 December 2020, Finland, Tampere: A healthcare professional receives a dose of the Biontech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Tampere University Hospital. Photo: Kalle Parkkinen/Lehtikuva/dpa
A healthcare professional receives a dose of the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine at Tampere University Hospital. Photo: Kalle Parkkinen/dpa/file photo.

Finland is in the process of preparing a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate available in the My Kanta Pages service. The certificate would show that the holder has been vaccinated against the disease.

According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate would include at least the following information:

  • Necessary information about the person who has been vaccinated.
  • Information about the vaccine that has been administered.
  • Information about the administration of the vaccine.
  • Identification data, such as details of the organization that administered the vaccine.

The information in the Finnish vaccination certificate would be consistent with the forthcoming international model of vaccination certificates. 

Vaccination certificates would be available in My Kanta Pages. In the first phase, the certificate would be available for those who have received a Covid-19 vaccine. However, the plan is that in the future a digital vaccination certificate would be available in My Kanta Pages for all kinds all vaccinations.

The certificate could be digital vaccination data, a barcode, a QR code or a combination of these and people could display the certificate on their phones or have it printed on paper.

As some people do not use or are not able to use My Kanta Pages, they can request a paper version of their vaccination certificate from the organization that administered their vaccine. 

The digital vaccination certificate would be intended for personal use of individuals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. They could decide themselves how and when to use the certificate.

My Kanta Pages is a citizen user interface to the Kanta Services where individuals can access their own health records, including information about the vaccines they have received. According to the Ministry, My Kanta Pages had 2.7 million users and 29.4 million visits in 2020.

What is the estimated timetable for the certificate?

The aim is to introduce the digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate as soon as possible. The technical implementation and the decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, making the necessary specifications to the Act on the Electronic Processing of Client Data in Healthcare and Social Welfare, should be ready in early spring 2021. The plan is to launch the certificate in May 2021.

The Ministry is also preparing a decree to make certificates for all kinds of vaccines available in My Kanta Pages. At the moment, people can request a paper certificate from the administering organization when they receive a vaccine.

What are the uses of the certificate?

As of yet, no decisions have been made when or for what purposes people would need to show a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. There is no consensus in the EU or WHO either on the situations where people could be obligated to show a vaccination certificate.

Finland participates in the international cooperation on vaccination certificate data to ensure that the Finnish certificate will comply with the international model. This would mean that the certificate available in My Kanta Pages could be used as proof of Covid-19 vaccination even outside Finland.

Another plan is that in the future people could get similar digital certificates for other health information, such as laboratory test results.

Will the vaccination certificate bring changes to patient records or other systems?

Before the digital vaccination certificate can be introduced, it is first necessary to make sure that vaccination data is recorded in the Kanta Services in a uniform and comprehensive manner and in the correct form. For this purpose, changes need to be made to a large number of the patient data systems currently in use or a separate application attached to the Kanta Services needs to be introduced to record vaccination data. The organization-specific methods of implementation will be specified as the certificate project progresses.

At the moment vaccination data are recorded in the Kanta Services in different ways. This is because there are a number of different patient and client data systems in use in municipalities, joint municipal authorities and hospital districts, and the systems use different ways of transferring vaccination data into the Kanta Services and My Kanta Pages.

Who is responsible for the project?

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is responsible for the implementation and scheduling of the project.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has the overall responsibility for the project. It is also responsible for the legislative and international work involved.

Kela implements the vaccination certificate and makes the necessary changes to My Kanta Pages. It is responsible for customer services for My Kanta Pages and for informing the public about the new certificate.  

How much will the certificate cost?

The preliminary cost estimate for the digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate is 3.5 million euros.

The estimate includes the costs for developing My Kanta Pages, costs for developing patient data systems, costs for a possible separate system and project costs of each party, including the costs for information and communication.

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