TWO of the tools deemed vital to curb the spread of Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic in Ireland have now been retired.
The Department of Health confirmed this week that the EU Digital Covid Certificates, for negative tests or as evidence of recovery from Covid, will no longer be issued by Ireland’s HSE.
The move took effect on July 1, the day after the EU regulation which required member states to issue the certificates expired.
The nation’s Covid Tracker app has also been shut down and is no longer available to download.
Used by over two million people at its peak, the app supported the contract tracing process in Ireland and also allowed people to display their Covid-19 vaccine certificates when out and about as services reopened across the country.
"The Covid Tracker app was developed using an Irish partner, and successfully used to track symptom spread, store personal records of symptoms and share key epidemiological figures and trends directly with the public,” HSE Chief Information Officer Fran Thompson explained as its closure was confirmed.
“Later, the app served as a user-friendly, accessible way for members of the public to store their EU Digital Covid certs.”
She added: “The HSE would like to thank the public for their overwhelming support of the Covid Tracker app, for taking up vaccines in record numbers, and for the many other important, personal and difficult steps they took to support our Covid response and protect the population over the last 3 years.
"We hope to be able to deliver similar, effective digital health tools to support our health service in the future.”
Less than 48 hours after its launch in July 2020, Ireland’s Covid Tracker app had one million downloads.
In its lifetime it amassed a total of 4.2 million registrations.
The app was at its peak usage on January 6, 2022, with over two million active users, accounting for 53% of people aged 16 and over in Ireland, the HSE confirm.
The Digital Covid Certificate was introduced in the EU in 2021, in response to the lifting of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions domestically and across international borders.
It allowed for certificates for test results, evidence of recovery and vaccination.
Since its introduction, over 10 million vaccine certificates, 1.1 million negative test certificates and 650,000 recovery certificates have been provided to people in Ireland.
The HSE has confirmed that it will continue to issue people with proof of Covid-19 vaccination documentation when they receive the vaccine against the virus.