Australians soon will be able to prove they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine by showing digital vaccination certificates using government apps on their smart phones.
On Sunday, Nine papers reported that the Federal Government is finalising plans to use the Express Medicare app and MyGov accounts to show digital proof of vaccination, ahead of the first vaccines being administered later this month.
In its current form, users can use the digital certificates to access facilities that require the vaccine such as aged care homes and hospitals.
In the future, Australians might need the certificate to travel interstate during lockdowns or even overseas.
Vaccine service providers and Services Australia offices will also be able to provide a hard copy vaccination certificate.
The project is being headed up by Health Minister Greg Hunt and Government Services Minister Stuart Robert.
Minister Robert told reports on Sunday that the project will be crucial to allow free movement between countries in the future.
“Any requirement for borders to open up will require vaccination and it will require the widespread use of assured certificates, and that is what we are talking about today – the Australian assured certificate that Australians can have enormous confidence in,” he said per news.com.au.
Robert has overseen a number of criticised digital projects from the government including the maligned COVIDSafe app and part of the Robodebt scandal — ultimately overseeing its conclusion.
And when MyGov went down due to an influx of Australians seeking information on COVID-19 government benefits, Robert referred to this incorrectly as DDoS. He later backtracked on this claim, stating “my bad”.
Allowing individuals to access their own certificate from the the Australian Immunisation Register will require upgrades to existing digital infrastructure.
Even if it’s not as complicated as creating a new contact tracing app, even seemingly simple apps often aren’t easy easy to create — and can sometimes leave people in tough situations when they depend on them.
Just weeks ago, Service NSW’s app left its digital drivers license users and people trying to check in to venues in the lurch as the app stopped working.
With that all in mind, this project seems like a no-brainer: the idea is to create a simple, safe and trusted way to let people show they’ve had the vaccine.
Let’s hope the digital vaccination certificates turn out that way.