With reporting by Clare Speak and Adriana Urbano.
Following widespread reports of technical problems since the Italian certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ was launched on July 1st, the health ministry has sought to make it easier to download the digital certificate via its website.
Though this change has resolved the problem for many people, thousands more across Italy are still reportedly unable to obtain their passes, which contain a QR code now required for entry to venues including museums, gyms, theatres and indoor bars and restaurants, as well as to attend large events like wedding receptions.
The number includes dozens of The Local’s readers, who have contacted us to say that after following all the official advice they are still unable to download their pass and don’t know where to turn.
The issue is becoming increasingly pressing for those working in education, with the digital health pass becoming a requirement for all school staff in September, as well as mandatory on long-distance public transport within Italy.
Many people with plans to travel or attend a wedding in Italy in the coming weeks have also written to say they’re becoming worried as weeks or months have passed since their second jab and yet they can’t access the document.
Italy’s green pass should be made available 15 days after the first vaccine dose (administered in Italy) and an updated version should be generated 24-48 hours after the second dose.
The certificate is also available to those who have recovered from Covid-19 or tested negative – but the Italian government expanded the ‘green pass’ requirements with the specific aim of increasing vaccination coverage.
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Eibhlin Priestley, 29, works in Florence and has been fully vaccinated since June – but still can’t obtain her pass.
The first hurdle was obtaining the AUTHCODE – the code necessary to generate the green pass. She was told at the time that she needed a valid health card (tessera sanitaria) to obtain the code – putting her in gridlock, as she is one of Italy’s many foreign residents not registered with the national health service.
She then tried getting her green pass printed at a local pharmacy, as the procedure does not require a valid tessera sanitaria, only a tax code (codice fiscale).
Unfortunately, the computer system said “certificate not available” – and the same happened when she tried to obtain her pass through the dedicated Ministry of Health website.
“I’ve now tried several different methods and channels to obtain the green pass including through my work, at the pharmacy and on the website, all to no avail,” she said.
“It feels very frustrating given that I was fully vaccinated two months ago and somehow the Ministry of Health seems to have no trace of this being the case.”
As she plans to travel soon, she said the problem “adds a layer of uncertainty over my trip.”
Also in Tuscany, reader Tracy said that, despite having received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, “I have had a horrible time trying to obtain my AUTHCODE online at dgc.gov.it. I have also emailed for help with no response and have called the 1500 helpline number for help and assistance so many times.”
“I have spoken to many representatives at this helpline number and they are unable to help me,“ she said. “Also, my local pharmacist and my doctor in our small village have said they are unable to help me get my green pass.”
“Frankly, I’m exhausted after being given the runaround and constant rejections. I’m worried I’ll never be able to obtain my green pass,” she said.
In the Lazio region around Rome, hundreds of members of a Facebook group called ‘Green pass Lazio’ are trying to find solutions and sharing advice on trying to obtain the certification.
“I’m afraid that if the green pass does not arrive by August 31st, on September 1st I will be suspended without a salary, or I will have to spend my salary to pay for tests every 48 hours,” wrote a teacher named Chiara.
So why is this happening?
The issue seems to be related to data either not being recorded correctly or not being sent from regional authorities to the national system.
Several of The Local’s members who have reported the issue to the email address [email protected] – which the health ministry advises people to contact for assistance – told us they had received the following response: “Unfortunately no green pass has been generated in the national platform-DGC with the data you have given.
“We will report your case to the administration of your region, which should transmit your data to the national platform-DGC as soon as possible.”
As anyone who has been vaccinated in Italy will know, your details are initially recorded at the vaccination centre on a paper form. This information must then be entered into the regional health authority’s computer system manually by employees. After that, the data needs to be transferred to the national system run by the health ministry.
If an error is made at any stage in this process, your green pass either won’t be generated or won’t be accessible.
In Lazio, Dr Valeria Converti told newspaper RomaToday: “We have received many reports from patients who have not yet obtained the green pass. Yet the data are recorded correctly. In fact, their vaccination is in the health file.”
“The problem, in my opinion, is the failure to transfer data from the region to the health ministry, which slows down all procedures.”
Is there anything else I can do if my green pass is ‘not available’?
If you’ve already tried all the possible solutions suggested here and are still getting a message that says your green pass has not been generated or is not available, it seems that the next step should be to contact your local health authority.
However, with hundreds of local health authority offices around Italy, the procedure for doing so varies.
Some offices have now set up dedicated web forms or email addresses for people to report problems with obtaining their green pass.
For example, according to local media reports, people in the Como and Varese area covered by Ats Insubria can report non-receipt of the green pass via a form on the website. The form has reportedly been filled in by around 180 people per day so far.
In the southern Puglia region, local ASL offices have this week set up dedicated email addresses for reports of problems obtaining the pass. In the city of Bari some 2,000 emails had been received by Tuesday, local media reported.
Health authorities in the autonomous province of Trento meanwhile have set up a website for reports of problems in obtaining the green pass.
To find out how you can submit a report in your area, check your ASL’s website.
If you can’t find the relevant information online, you can ask your GP or pharmacist for advice on contacting the local authority.
If you need to obtain the green pass urgently in Italy you can also do so by getting tested – however this is far from an ideal solution, as tests are not usually free and the pass generated will only be valid for 48 hours.
If you have experienced this problem and were able to find a solution, please leave a comment below and let us know how you were able to obtain your green pass.