Digital Covid cert helpline to get increased capacity amid delays

One helpline user claims to have been waiting three hours before call was answered

Several people on Twitter reported the line being down and calls being disconnected or taking between one and two hours to get through to a helpline staff member. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Several people on Twitter reported the line being down and calls being disconnected or taking between one and two hours to get through to a helpline staff member. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

 

Work is underway to add capacity to the digital Covid certificate helpline, with callers currently experiencing delays amid a high volume of queries.

The helpline, which is operated by Accenture on behalf of the Department of Health, was fully launched on Monday.

It was initially set up for emergency cases last week.

Millions of digital Covid certs are being issued this month to people who are fully vaccinated, those who have recently recovered from Covid-19, and those with a recent negative Covid test result.

People who have been vaccinated at mass vaccination centres are receiving their certs by email, while those who have had Covid can get theirs by contacting the helpline. The number for the helpline is 1800-851504, and it is for queries relating to the vaccination certificates as well as for requesting recovery certificates.

The digital Covid certificates are being used for travel and will likely be used to access indoor dining if it reopens as planned later this month.

Users have reported delays to the helpline service on Monday. One reader contacted The Irish Times claiming they had been waiting for almost 3½ hours before their call was answered.

A number of people have reported being unable to get through to the helpline or being placed on hold for more than one and two hours.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the service centre is “currently handling a very high volume of calls and delays may be experienced by members of the public trying to contact the centre”.

“We are currently working to increase the capacity of the service centre,” the spokeswoman said.

About 2 million people were automatically eligible for digital Covid certs from last week due to their vaccination status.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said 1.1 million email digital Covid-19 certificates had been issued and 870,000 hard copies printed and posted.

Every day, more people are fully vaccinated and become eligible for the certificates, which creates what a spokeswoman called “a moving backlog of certs to be issued”. Revenue and staff from the office of the Government chief information officer worked through the weekend to get the certificates to eligible people, she said.

Several people on Twitter on Monday reported the helpline being down and calls being disconnected or taking between one and two hours to get through to a helpline staff member.