So our vaccination records are a mess.

We are US residents: we went to Germany a couple of weeks ago and it turns out that Germany doesn't consider JJ + booster to be "fully vaccinated" and in order to be allowed in shops or restaurants I got a another booster right there. So what I currently have is

  1. Johnson and Johnson + 1 Moderna booster documented on the CDC card and a CVS smart health card + PDF.
  2. 1 Moderna booster documented on a handwritten piece of paper (but with official signature)
  3. A questionable transcription of all 3 in an EU Covid Pass. It took us three attempts to get some transcription done, and this one is still wrong (has split the 3 shots into two certificate with the most recent one showing as "not active"


  1. Is there a way to transcribe all three shots into a single document? Ideally with a QR code and without anything hand written?
  2. Can I somehow update my CDC card or CVS smart health card with my German shot?
  3. What's currently the most "usable" form of vaccination documentation for travel?

UPDATE based on the comments.

My EU Covid app currently list two different QR codes (need to swipe left/right).

  1. The first one has two shots (certificates). It says "Fully Vaccinated" under the QR code. Shot 1 says "3/1" (Moderna Feb 2022) and the box to the left is grayed out. Shot two says "1/1" (JJ Apr 2021). There is a green check box under the second shot "Certificate currently in use" that's not under the first shot
  2. Second QR code has one shot/certificate "2 of 1" (Moderna Nov 2021) It says "not fully vaccinated". It also has the green check with "Certificate Currently in use".

We went to three different pharmacies to get it transcribed: the first on refused outright, the second one made a complete mess with which was completely unusable and that's what the 3rd one came up with.

Waiting time after a booster depends on the state (just to make it even more complicated). We got the booster in Berlin, where it counts as effective immediately. In any case, all wait times should be met by now since it's over a month after the last booster.

  • "Not active" or "not valid"? Which app did you use to test it? Do you know how this booster was encoded (3/3 or something else)? When did you get it? (There is a 1/2 week delay before an injection is deemed to have an effect)
    – Relaxed
    Mar 23, 2022 at 13:11
  • Install CovPass and load the last shot (with the 3/3). It will show how many days are left until it is considered valid (14 days after the shot was given). Mar 23, 2022 at 13:30
  • @MarkJohnson see updated details. I do have the CovPass but it doesn't say 3/3 anywhere
    – Hilmar
    Mar 23, 2022 at 14:40
  • 3/1 gives it away as being a booster after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine or some other non standard case, the third injection in a complete series of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines is encoded 3/3. Apps are free to make one they want of this information but since it's a corner case and not a full course of a recognised vaccine, you're probably out of luck.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 23, 2022 at 15:22
  • I also have friends who got a Moderna Spikevax or Pfizer Comirnaty injection after their government stopped recommending Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca or who got what looks like an incomplete course of vaccination because they contracted Covid in the middle. They all experience problems in some cases and that's within the EU, with full documentation.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 23, 2022 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


Is there a way to transcribe all three shots into a single document? Ideally with a QR code and without anything hand written?

There is no way to do that with the EU Digital covid certificate system. The QR code only encodes the last relevant “event” (test or injection). For vaccination, there is also a field for the order-in-a-series of vaccines (with values like "1/1" for the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, and "1/2" or "2/2" for Pfizer Comirnaty or Moderna Spikevax) but no other details on the earlier injections. So whatever else you do, if you need to rely on an EU certificate, you need to get your last booster encoded in a way that's accepted by the verification app you're interested in.

In most countries, the verification app only looks at the last relevant QR code (depending on the rules in place at that moment, it can be a vaccine or booster shot, a recent negative test, or an older positive test) and displays a go/no-go decision with minimal info. The whole system was designed to make it possible to make a decision by scanning the QR code without looking at anything else. That QR code can also be printed on paper or stored as a picture without using any specific app.

If someone wants to get more information or examine the whole series of injections, as you experienced in Germany, then they need to look at several QR codes or documents. Because that's how the system works, it makes sense to provide two QR codes in your situation and it is in any case impossible to provide a single QR code with all the info.

I am aware of many other annoying cases (people who had to switch vaccines based on availability or changing recommendations, people with atypical vaccine sequences because they caught Covid at some point) but that's not really a problem that can be fixed by the certificate issuer. As the validation logic is in the app and different countries use slightly different rules, it's entirely possible to get an EU Digital covid certifcate and yet be unable to enter somewhere. It's also possible for your last QR code to be recognised in another place than Germany.

I have no idea about the US side of things.

What's currently the most "usable" form of vaccination documentation for travel?

For international travel, things are different, nothing works with QR codes. Even if you have a “simple” vaccination course (say three Pfizer Comirnaty injections) fully documented with EU QR codes, airlines and border guards still want to see human readable descriptions of these injections. If what you have is the typical EU Digital Covid certificate print-out, airport staff will not scan the QR code but ask to read the other side. I have experienced that multiple times both inside and outside the EU.

So the best documentation is either a PDF or printed proof of vaccination (with dates, description of the vaccine, stamps, and signatures) for each injection.

  • I don't think this is correct. The CovPass app captures all shots and bars and restaurants did check all shots individually for compliance. In a fair amount of case the top level QR code was not sufficient.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 23, 2022 at 14:43
  • @Hilmar What part of it is not correct? If they scan only one QR code, the app only knows the details (date, type, etc.) of the last injection plus a single field that tells you where that shot was in a series (initially, its meaning was simple and well defined but it got a little funkier with passes generated based on vaccinations performed abroad, booster shots, and mixed vaccination courses). That's an objective fact, I can look up online docs or earlier questions but I am absolutely positive about that and that's the main point I am making.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 23, 2022 at 15:11
  • 1
    Now, if you're telling me bars in Germany scan 2-3 QR codes before letting you in, knowing Germany, I would only be mildly surprised but that's not the way the system was designed or works elsewhere. Either way, if you present the QR code from a booster, they cannot check the date or type of the first injection. This information is not encoded in the regular EU Covid health certificate QR codes. Such a code does not exist.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 23, 2022 at 15:13
  • 1
    @Hilmar "The CovPass app captures all shots and bars and restaurants did check all shots individually for compliance": the app "captures all shots" because you loaded them each into it individually, which does not imply encoding multiple shots into a single QR code. It's not even necessary for all the codes in the wallet app to belong to the same person. My wife and I have each other's codes in ours for redundancy.
    – phoog
    Mar 23, 2022 at 23:53
  • 1
    The CovPass app actually warns you to show the QR-Code only and the latest is shown as default. All Bars, Restaurants etc. are supposed to use the CovidPass Check to read the QR-Code. They are not allowed to ask to see anything but what the check app shows (status, name and birthday). Mar 24, 2022 at 11:01

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