News Australia rolls out digital certificates to prove COVID-19 vaccination status

Australia rolls out digital certificates to prove COVID-19 vaccination status

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About 600,000 Australians lucky enough to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can now prove their inoculation status with a digital certificate.

Anyone who has had both doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine can access their status via Medicare.

The official certificate – unveiled by the federal government on Wednesday – has a coat-of-arms hologram and includes the holder’s name, date of birth and a green validity tick.

The vaccine status certificates have been backed by doctors as a key road out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said allowing immunisation status to be displayed without disclosing other private health information was a logical step.

“Australians need to be able to prove they are vaccinated one way or another,” Dr Khorshid told ABC radio.

“It’s going to be needed for international travel. It may well be needed in many workplaces. Yes, we do support a mechanism for you to demonstrate your vaccine status.”

No one will be required to share information about non-COVID vaccinations or other health data.

Proof of immunisation is seen as a vital step towards relaxing restrictions long term with some businesses and political leaders floating it as an incentive to get the jab.

Government Services Minister Linda Reynolds said the new record would make it simple for people to show their vaccination status.

“The COVID-19 digital certificate makes proof of vaccination accessible anytime, anywhere,” Ms Reynolds said.

The certificate can be accessed through the Medicare app or online through myGov.

Those without internet access can get an immunisation history statement from their vaccine provider, or contact the Australian Immunisation Register and ask for a hard copy to be mailed to them.

Vaccination numbers continue to rise with locked down Victorians leading the country in rolling up their sleeves.

About one-fifth of the 127,000 COVID-19 vaccinations administered in the most recent 24-hour reporting period were in Victoria.

More than 5.2 million doses have been administered but just 613,000 people have been fully vaccinated with both shots.

Victoria had just one new locally acquired infection on Wednesday, putting Melbourne on track to ease the harsh two-week lockdown on Friday.

But a return to a relatively normal life will be delayed with a 25-kilometre travel limit and restrictions on gatherings to remain.

Dr Khorshid said doctors supported a staged easing of lockdown.

“The government in Victoria has taken this outbreak very seriously particularly with this Delta strain that is so concerning in terms of its transmissibility as well as its severity,” he said.

“This gradual easing of restrictions is exactly what Victorians need right now to balance their safety with of course the need to open up and get back to normal.”

While the federal government has been criticised for rolling out the vaccine at a glacial speed, individual states and territories are powering ahead.

Broadening vaccine eligibility ahead of the federal government, Western Australia has granted access for all people aged over 30 while the Northern Territory is vaccinating anyone over 16 years old.

Dr Khorshid addressed the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday with a pitch for doctors to shape health funding and systems beyond the pandemic.

“The government’s listened to science, they’ve listened to health experts. Surprise, surprise not only do we have the best health outcomes in the world we’ve also got an economy most countries would be envious of,” he said.

“There’s a strong lesson there as we go into the future.”

-with AAP