Austrian operator Magenta Telekom said it is offering doctors and vaccination centers a tariff called Mobile e-vaccination pass. With it, doctors can register vaccination data, and patients can access the country’s electronic health communication system portal (ELGA) for an overview of registered vaccinations. Vaccination certificates on paper will be gradually replaced with electronic certificates.
The tariff includes 10 GB of data at up to 30 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload, a connection to ELGA, a tablet with a SIM card dedicated to the digital vaccination card, and central management of the device. The applications necessary to use the system, such as the app for checking and documenting vaccinations and the digital office app for the doctor’s digital signature, are preinstalled on the tablet.
Customers may either rent or purchase the hardware. If they decide to rent it, the price for the tariff is €47.00 (US $55.17) per month for 12 months, €43.00 (US $50.47) per month for 24 months and €38.00 (US $44.60) per month for 36 months. If they decide to purchase the device, the one-off fee for the hardware is €420.00 (US $492.98) and the monthly fee is €25.00 (US $29.34) per month for 12 and 24 months, and €20.00 (US $23.48) per month for 36 months.
In light of the growing importance and need for mass vaccination to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, it makes sense for an operator such as Magenta Telekom to provide assistance in the endeavor. MNOs are often looking for public-spirited projects to take on, at least in part to help improve their image with existing and potential subscribers. In this case, though, the offering of a specialized data plan and a purpose-built device (the digital vaccination card with SIM) sets the solution apart. If it is successful, Magenta Telekom can expect to be viewed as having made a major contribution to health in the country as a whole.
The hardware is fairly expensive, and the monthly fees are not particularly cheap, but the target clients are medical centers, which likely are publicly funded. The choice of device purchase or rental makes sense in light of the differing needs of vaccination centers, some of which may be temporary or ad hoc. Presumably patients’ access to their vaccination records will be free of charge and device-agnostic.