Gov’t app wrongly gave Covid vaccination certificates to thousands
Many people in the Netherlands were wrongly given a Covid-19 vaccination certificate by the government’s CoronaCheck app when they were not fully vaccinated against the disease, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told Nu.nl. “Several thousand people” were thus able to generate a QR code code using the app to access various nightclubs and events over the weekend, the first weekend where the app could be used to get a vaccination certificate.
The problem was identified and resolved on Monday. The app connects to a system which pulls data from many other systems. The problem may have occurred because they “were not properly connected, or there was an errant check mark somewhere,” the spokesperson said.
False vaccination certificates should no longer be generated by the app. Those who are not fully vaccinated can generate a QR code to access locations by getting a negative coronavirus test result within 40 hours of entry.
However, many people were simply gifted a negative test result if they were inconvenienced by long lines and delays formed at the Testen voor Toegang test centers as the result of a cyberattack on Friday. One reporter for NH Nieuws said she complained about the delay, and an employee matched her to an unclaimed negative test result, even though she was never actually administered a test. Her story was not unique, the broadcaster said.
“This is really a shame, I'm curious what it will look like in two weeks in terms of infections," the reporter, Maaike Polder, said.
“A lot went well, but not everything,” tweeted Health Minister Hugo de Jonge with the hashtag “#workingonit”.
Many users last week identified the common problem that the app would not let them generate a vaccination certificate. This was reported by people who were previously infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, that the GGD knew about the infection, and thus they received only one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine per Dutch policy. The Netherlands considers these people to be “fully vaccinated.”
De Jonge said on Friday the problem was expected to be fixed early on the weekend. However, by Sunday night representatives of the ministry continued to tell Twitter users that they were aware of the problem, and it should be resolved in a few days.
The people most negatively affected were given a jab by the GGD between April and early June, a ministry spokesperson told ANP. The issue is related to the data processing of people vaccinated those months. “Hard work” was carried out over the weekend to try and fix the problem, but it has not been completely resolved.
The ministry did scale up the number of people who can connect to the CoronaCheck app simultaneously to request their vaccination certificates. That was ordered after the app continuously timed out for many users last week.