Portal red light for green pass worries vaccinated residents

By Le Phuong, Chi Le   September 13, 2021 | 05:04 pm PT
'Not vaccinated.' Bao Loc was shocked at her online status, though she'd had her second Covid-19 vaccine shot in August. How would she get her "green pass," now?

Loc, a resident of HCMC’s Go Vap District, had got the first dose of Covid vaccine on June 26 at a community injection site in District 11. Later, she checked on the electronic health book application ("So suc khoe dien tu"), which helps citizens register for vaccination and records their information, and did not see her inoculation data.

On August 16, she had the second jab in District 5. This dose was updated into the system, the application said she was vaccinated with one shot. But later, on Sept. 8, she checked the application again and was deemed "not vaccinated."

Meanwhile, on the website of the Covid-19 Vaccine Portal, her first jab was updated, but her name was mistakenly written as "Buu Loc".

As Vietnam plans to gradually open services in the coming months based on people's vaccination record, many residents like Loc are worried that the inaccurate online updates can affect their chances of a new normal.

Bao Loc is deemed not vaccinated on the electronic health book application. Photo courtesy of Bao Loc

Bao Loc’s status is "not vaccinated" on the electronic health book application, though she’d got two doses already. Photo courtesy of Bao Loc

When the HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC) announced it would receive vaccination information for adjustment, Loc sent her information three times, but it was still not updated.

"I called the hotline, the operators said that the number of vaccinated people is very large and overloaded, so it has not been updated, so I should wait."

Since she has a certificate of vaccination issued at the site, Loc is not too worried. But she works in international trade and has to regularly go in and out of ports to complete documents, and she is concerned that if the city applies the "vaccination green pass," she will face trouble if she loses the certificate.

"If the data is updated into the app, it is more convenient to just take out the phone when checking," Loc said, adding that if the information was not updated soon, she would laminate the certificate of her vaccinations, so she can take it around with greater convenience.

Similarly, Ha Vy of Binh Thanh District received two vaccine shots on June 21 and August 11 at two medical facilities but the information has not yet been updated in the system.

Many HCMC residents who've had two Covid-19 vaccine shots have found that both the electronic health book application and the Covid-19 Vaccine Portal have not fully recorded their information. In several cases there have been errors in personal information.

In some other cases, those having received just one shot have been deemed "fully vaccinated" by the system.

On July 6, Hung had his first shot at a vaccination site at the Tan Son Nhat Airport. When he was to get the second dose on August 19, he was in Lam Dong Province and could not return to HCMC to get it, but he was marked "fully vaccinated" on the application.

"I am asking them to edit the data so that I can get the second dose," Hung said.

The electronic health book is a mobile application connecting people to the personal health record system of the Ministry of Health. With this application, people can manage their own health information and be proactive in finding information related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

People's vaccination status is to be updated on the application, including their personal information, the number of vaccine doses they have, and a QR code for medical staff to scan if needed.

Those who have had the first dose of the vaccine will receive a yellow certificate. Those who have had two doses will receive a green certificate. Those who have not had any injections are recorded as "not vaccinated."

According to the HCMC, vaccination information of local residents has been uploaded to the electronic health book application in the last few weeks, but there have been mistakes.

In order to correct these, from Aug. 23, the HCDC has started to receive information from citizens and transferred it to relevant agencies to update.

Accordingly, people can visit a website and provide their information with a photo of their Covid-19 vaccination certificate to receive correction support.

Explaining the delays in updating vaccination information on the system, Deputy Director of the municipal Health Department Nguyen Van Vinh Chau said information of those having their shots before July 20 have not been updated because the national database was not completed then.

"Currently, vaccination facilities are speeding up updating this information and will try to fully update it soon," Chau said.

In Hanoi, the updating process has been very slow.

Huy Hoang, a 40-year-old resident of Thanh Xuan District, was in the priority group for vaccination against the coronavirus. In mid-May, he had his first dose at the Bach Mai Hospital, received the second towards end of July and was given a certificate of vaccination.

However, when he checked the electronic health book application, he did not see his data. Hoang said he had read about how to use the application but could not find a way to update his vaccination information himself.

A user encounters an error on the electronic health book application. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy

A user in Hanoi encounters an error on the electronic health book application. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy

Meanwhile, Vu Minh, 26-year-old resident from Cau Giay District, received his second dose at the Bach Mai Hospital last week. He had a certificate for his first dose, but it was collected by the hospital. The medical staff said the certificate will be sent to his company, so he needs to wait a bit longer. Three days after he received the second shot, the new electronic health record application shows that he has had only one shot.

A staff at a vaccination site in Hanoi said that each site will have its own data entry staff in charge of inputting daily vaccination information into the system. However, the process was not synchronized initially and the number of vaccinated people was too large, so it was difficult for staff to solve the data entry problem soon. The vaccination certificate will be issued after a few days.

The rep said that those who have not received the certificate should contact vaccination sites like hospitals or places where they had been vaccinated to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

According to the Ministry of Health, many people have not got their "green passes" on the electronic health book because the data is still being uploaded. In a letter sent to provinces and cities last week, the ministry urged relevant units to input data into the national Covid-19 vaccine immunization system and complete it by September 20.

The Covid-19 Vaccine Portal has also updated a "feedback" button for those who want to request to update their information. Citizens can ask for corrections if their information on the website is not correct.

Many people have followed these steps and received no updates.

As of Monday, 24 million people in Vietnam had received at least one shot, accounting for 25 percent of the population. To date, 5.3 million have been fully vaccinated.

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