‘I called the Covid Digital Cert helpline and here’s how long I was waiting’

'I called the Covid Digital Cert helpline and here's how long I was waiting' thumbnail
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Like millions of of people across this country I have officially been fully vaccinated.

I was lucky enough to receive my one shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine from my local pharmacy two weeks ago.

Given my age I was delighted to get my jab especially with the return of foreign travel and the impending return of indoor dining.

Not long after I receive my vaccinated that the news broke that Digital Covid-19 Certs would be sent out to everyone who has received their vaccine.

These certs would facilitate foreign travel and some have suggested they may be used for indoor dining.

Naturally I was eager to get my hands on my cert to plan ahead for a possible holiday in the future and waited patiently as I was told my cert should be issued to me early this week.

However I began to suspect that something may not be right when all of my vaccinated friends, some of whom received their jab after me, had received their certs either by email or post.

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After checking, and rechecking every folder of everyone of my mail boxes I decided it was probably time to reach out to the Department of Health to see if they could offer me any help.

The department last week launched a dedicated helpline for those who have any queries relating to their Digital Certs.

While I knew that demand would be high I decided I’d still give it a bash as I was up early. So with that I called the helpline one minute after they opened at 8.31 am.

I was met with a pretty typical automated voice asking which query I had and was told to press the number ‘one’ if i was yet to receive my cert after five days of being vaccinated.

I obliged and was met then met with another automated voice which informed me my estimated wait time was longer than 90 minutes. I figured I would leave my phone on speaker while I tapped away at work.

After the initial 90 minutes passed I remained patient seeing as how I had been pre warned.

And so another 30 minutes passed. Then an hour. Then another hour. Throughout this all I was soothed with some jazz muzak while an automated voice routinely told me they were experience very high call volumes and were dealing with urgent queries.

My wait time exceeded two and a half hours

Just as I was about to give up hope a friendly worker answered after four hours.

She was happy to send off a request for my cert which I have been told should be here within the next five working days and had me off the phone within 10 minutes..

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Meanwhile today it has emerged that an online portal for people to request recovery certs from Covid-19 is expected to be up and running later this week.

Liz Canavan, Assistant Secretary at Department of the Taoiseach informed the Dáil’s Health Committee this morning that the call centre set up to assist people seeking their EU Digital Covid Cert (DCC) was overwhelmed with calls and the centre has not been able to meet the level of demand.

She said: “This far exceeds estimates of call centre demand based on an assessment of travel bookings and survey or insights data on travel intentions that Government or industry have access to.”

Ms Canavan said the centre received 40,000 calls over Monday and Tuesday and only 2,826 calls were “handled.”

She said 55 agents are currently managing the centre but an additional 30 staff members are to be added today.

Until that portal is open you may be waiting a while.

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