Berlin - If you, like so many immigrants, lost patience with the German vaccination programme and went home to get vaccinated, the jabs probably weren't recorded in the yellow vaccination passports so popular with our Teutonic neighbours. But, health officials say, that shouldn't keep you from enjoying the freedoms awarded to the newly vaccinated since 9 May.

"A vaccination passport issued in English, French, German, Italian or Spanish, a written confirmation or a digital format suffice as proof of a completed immunisation," a ministry spokesperson wrote in response to an e-mail enquiry. The Robert Koch Institute - the government's disease expert - had referred questions to the ministry.

Vaccination passports have taken on a new urgency since they, along with negative tests, serve as the keys to dining outside, visiting cultural events and even travelling with fewer restrictions. But Germany's love of rules had many non-Germans concerned that foreign vaccinations confirmations wouldn't suffice.  

German residents are considered fully vaccinated against the virus two weeks after a second injection with vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer/Biontech or AstraZeneca or just one injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Alternatively, those recovered from the virus in the past six months with just one injection of the above vaccines also count as vaccinated.

Month, day, year?

Since other vaccines, like Russia's Sputnik or the one from China's Sinopharm, haven't yet been recognised by German drugs regulator the Paul Ehrlich Institute, they don't count. 

But do confirmations from other countries work in the real German world? Seems so.

"I’ve used it everywhere," Hannah Wilson, who was vaccinated in Montana, said in an online interview. She's already presented her Center for Disease Control certificate in shops, at restaurants and even to escape bi-weekly testing for her German lessons.

"I thought I’d have to get it transferred to my yellow WHO vaccine document somehow but that hasn’t been necessary," she said. "Sometimes people need to do a double-take because in the US we write the date backwards and some people have remarked that it looks very easy to counterfeit."

And although she still may be learning German, there is at least one indication that Wilson has gone native - "I got a little plastic sleeve for it at the copy shop in town and it’s been perfect."

While online forums have said some family doctors are willing to transfer the vaccinations abroad into the yellow passports, getting an appointment with a doctor can sometimes be more hair-raising then convincing a bartender you're valid foreign vaccination passport is indeed valid. 

Have you had a different experience with your foreign vaccination confirmation? Let us know: andrew.bulkeley@berlinerverlag.com