Covid-19 vaccine pass: changes have been made to speed up requests

With the country switching to the new traffic light system at the end of the week, behind-the-scenes changes have been made to help get vaccines through.

Photo: Ministry of Health

As of Friday, passes will be mandatory for certain events, businesses and gatherings.

Two-thirds of fully vaccinated New Zealanders now have their passes.

Help lines and inboxes were first overwhelmed with demand from people struggling with online applications.

There were 70,000 calls to the 0800 helpline last Thursday alone.

The Ministry of Health assigned additional technical assistance staff to manage three call centers and extended the centers’ opening hours to 8 p.m.

Nearly 400 pharmacies are also now able to process passes, in order to reduce the pressure on telephone and online means.

Aucklander Ian Rushton would have liked this service to be available initially.

After a few hiccups he got his pass online, but for many of his retirement-age peers the website is in too hard the basket.

“I know people in my age range who don’t even want to know the internet and be online, it’s just too foreign for them,” he said.

“And then I know others who can sort of do their basics like their online banking and email, but something new like this – a little out of their depth.”

Monique Harvey was one of those who tried the lines on multiple occasions. When she tried to download her pass, one of her doses failed to show up.

“Thursday I got the 0800 number, I can do it now, but the person over there is not able to do it. They are forwarding a request to someone to have the vaccination status changed. “

She found the wait “really frustrating”.

“I got an email from the event center where I go to the pool and use the pool, and from December 3, I have to show a vaccine pass to go and I don’t have one. not for the moment.”

University of Auckland researcher Dr Andrew Chen said a huge amount of work has gone into the Covid pass technology, and in many ways it has exceeded expectations.

“It’s government IT, which makes it even more likely to fail. History is littered with examples of government IT projects that simply failed to hold up or had a lot of problems. and errors.

He said the fact that it was deployed to serve nearly four million people in two or three months was “quite astonishing by government IT standards.”

Although the system was overwhelmed at first, Chen said it was good for people to eagerly adapt to Aotearoa’s latest Covid-19 reality.

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