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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Liz Canavan, Assistant General Secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach
Health Committee

People asked not to contact Digital Covid Cert helpline unless travelling within next 10 days

Over 34,000 calls were made to the new Digital Covid Certificate helpline yesterday alone.

PEOPLE ARE BEING asked to only contact the Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) helpline if they have an urgent query amid significant demand on the service in recent days. 

After widely reported issues with Ireland’s DCC helpline on Monday, additional resources were put in place yesterday, but many people have still been reporting issues getting through. 

A second freephone number was then established to deal with “urgent queries only”. 

The DCC is a standardised EU system which allows people to travel across member states without quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months or have recently tested negative. 

People who are fully vaccinated should get their cert without requesting one, either by post or by email, but people who are entitled to one after recovering from the virus are being asked to contact the call centre to secure one.

The call centre is also being used for people who are entitled to a DCC through vaccination but have not yet received one and also for general queries. 

Speaking before the Oireachtas Health Committee this morning, Liz Canavan, Assistant General Secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, said the call centre has been “exceptionally busy” with over 34,000 calls made yesterday alone. 

Canavan said an extra 30 agents are to be added today to the 55 staff currently staffing the centre. 

“The call volumes are at unprecedented levels and the call centre remains exceptionally busy,” she said. 

“We’re urging people to only call the call centre if they have an urgent call and they’re travelling in the next 10 days,” Canavan added, saying the centre can only support queries in relation to vaccination and recovery certificates. 

She said that current demand suggests that many people who are calling “are not due to travel in the short term”. 

“These non-urgent calls are adding very significant waiting times to all calls and preventing many urgent calls from getting through,” she said. 

“Again, we would urge people to only contact the call centre if you really need to and if you’re travelling in the next 10 days.” 

Canavan confirmed the call centre will “continue to evolve over the coming days” with new services added to “meet emerging concerns and demand from members of the public”. 

“We do regret the delay some people are experiencing, and we are learning and continuing to improve the service every day,” she said. 

Anyone who has been vaccinated who has not yet received a DCC and is not travelling in the short term is asked to wait a few more days before contacting the centre. 

“Unless you need your certificate urgently, we would encourage you to wait a few more days. The likelihood is that certs not issued will arrive and as the call centre ramps up we’ll be in a position to deal with all the calls more quickly,” Canavan said. 

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