Broken computer system hinders launch of Newfoundland and Labrador vaccine passports


ST. JOHN’S, NL – Even the government did not expect the launch of Newfoundland and Labrador’s vaccination passport system on Friday to go off without a hitch.

And the teams certainly did not disappoint.

Within an hour or two of going live on Friday morning, the portal to individual vaccine records crashed due to high traffic and remained down throughout the day.

This means that people who downloaded the NLVaxPass app for their smart devices could not automatically download a QR code.

Digital Government and Service NL issued a press release around mid-afternoon saying they were aware of the issue and were making adjustments to resolve it.

They also saw it as a good problem.

“There has been an incredible response to the vaccine passport,” the statement read. “Almost 40,000 QR codes were issued at 9 a.m. (approximately 600 per minute) and the NLVaxPass app was the first free app downloaded from Google and Apple this morning.”

The statement also pointed out that the system would not come into effect until October 22.

A long line of vehicles was spotted on Waterford Bridge Road in St. John’s Friday afternoon, October 8, during the drive-through COVID-19 test, -Joe Gibbons / The Telegram – Joseph Gibbons

Unable to get the code

Some residents took to social media to say that even when the system was in place, they were unable to download their QR code, often because they were vaccinated outside the province.

Anyone who doesn’t have a valid MCP number is also out of luck. And you’ll have to settle for a printed copy if your smart device is older than a certain vintage.

The telegram asked Service NL about the reported delays in renewing expired MCP cards, but did not get a response before the deadline.

However, anyone who cannot obtain the easily scanned code can instead show an immunization record at companies where it will be required. This also applies to visitors to the province. It must be a copy of an official document and indicate the date and location of the photos, as well as the name of the person.

Regarding transferring your immunization status to the provincial database, residents can upload their immunization records to be reviewed and added to their provincial electronic health record. It takes approximately two weeks to receive a QR code from the time you upload your COVID-19 out-of-province vaccination record.

In addition to uploading an image of an official record confirming the details of your previous dose (s), you will need to provide your first and last name, date of birth, an MCP number and a valid mailing address in Newfoundland and Labrador. Labrador.

Here is the website:

Digital Government and ServiceNL Minister Sarah Stoodley speaks at a press conference announcing a vaccine passport for the province on Thursday.ter - Keith Gosse
Digital Government and ServiceNL Minister Sarah Stoodley speaks at a press conference announcing a vaccine passport for the province on Thursday.ter – Keith Gosse

Other things to know

Since Friday’s rollout, The Telegram has looked into a few other interesting points about the system that residents and businesses may want to know. Most of them can be found on the Government’s Frequently Asked Questions website. (

  • There is a grace period for children who have just turned 12. Children over 12 are not exempt. However, at the age of 12, a child has three months from their birthday to be fully immunized. Businesses and organizations will verify the child’s identity to confirm that less than three months have passed since their 12th birthday. And unlike adults, anyone under the age of 19 doesn’t need a photo ID, just one with their name and date of birth.
  • Employees should also be vaccinated. All personnel in a location requiring the passport must also have their photographs. This includes workers who access the site for other reasons, such as delivery drivers, but they have until December 1, 2021 to be fully vaccinated.
  • You don’t need a passport to dine out. While it is too cold for this option now, people can dine on a terrace without having to confirm their status. In fact, they are even allowed to cross a restaurant to access the terrace.
  • In fact, you don’t have to be checked at the door. Businesses can check the status of vaccines at the cash desk, or even at the point of service such as a table. It is up to the owner / operator to decide.
  • Regular customers do not have to prove their status. Two Cape Breton restaurants already maintain loyal customer lists to speed up their entry, and Newfoundland and Labrador businesses are following suit. GoodLife Fitness outlets in this province and beyond already have an optional electronic Fast Pass system that allows someone who has already proven their immunization status to access it immediately. Medical records are not kept.
  • Although not required, a business can still use the system. However, there are caveats. People who are not fully immunized should be able to access essential services such as grocery stores and gas stations. Policies should take into account legal and ethical implications. And they have to use the NLVaxVerify app if they want to fall under the province’s scope.
  • Yes, you can be fined. For individuals, the penalty is $ 500 to $ 2,500 or up to six months in jail – or both. For corporations, the fines range from $ 5,000 to $ 50,000. Environmental health officers will monitor corporate compliance and police have the power to issue tickets.

Peter Jackson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering health for The Telegram.
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Gordon K. Morehouse