With an agreement in the national cabinet to link the easing of restrictions to vaccination rates, it's expected that people will need proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enjoy their freedoms. Many are already eager to have their vaccination certificates at hand.
There are a few easy steps you can take now to ensure you have access to a COVID-19 digital certificate once you are fully vaccinated.
Where is your COVID-19 vaccination information recorded?
The key to accessing your immunisation history is the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
When you receive a vaccination, your information is entered into the register. It then appears in your Medicare account under your ‘Immunisation history statement’. Vaccination providers will usually update your details within 24 hours of your vaccination.
Your immunisation history records not only COVID-19 vaccines but also any influenza shots that you’ve received.
Anyone 14 years and older will have their own immunisation history statement.
If your vaccination record does not appear after 10 days, contact your vaccine provider. They can refer the issue to the AIR if needed.
Those who were vaccinated overseas with an Australian-approved vaccine can also add this information to the AIR. Services Australia explains how to add overseas vaccinations to your immunisation history.
A vaccination certificate is available to anyone who has received both vaccine doses. Those who have received only one dose can use their immunisation history statement as proof of vaccination.
Steps to accessing your vaccination certificate
“What I strongly urge you to do if you don’t already have one is to create a myGov account,” says Hank Jongen, Services Australia General Manager.
“Once you’ve created a myGov account, link it to Medicare.”
Next, download the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
“Once you link this back to your online account, you will have all the evidence you need available to you in the palm of your hand,” says Mr Jongen.
If you don’t wish to use the app, another option is to view your immunisation history online, select the COVID-19 Digital Certificate, and then download it to your phone or computer.
If your Medicare account details are not up to date, you won’t be able to link your accounts.
Services Australia has produced a short video explaining how to link your Medicare account to myGov using your Medicare card.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you can access your records online by using the Individual Healthcare Identifier Service via myGov. The certificate can then be downloaded or added to your digital wallet.
Proof of vaccination for children under 14 years
Parents and guardians of children under 14 have access to their children’s vaccinations through myGov or the Medicare app.
A vaccination provider can print a copy of your child’s immunisation history, or you can call the AIR on 1800 653 809 and ask for one to be posted.
Adding a certificate to your digital wallet
Services Australia outlines here how to add a digital certificate to your digital wallet. The steps vary according to whether you are eligible for Medicare and if you are using the mobile app.
What if you don’t have a smartphone or don’t want to access your certificate online?
“Of course, whilst we recommend that myGov is the best way to get the certificate through your smartphone, if you’re not able or willing to use that option, you can contact Services Australia to get a copy of your certificate. And you can do that by simply ringing us on 1800 653 809,” says Mr Jongen.
Your vaccine provider can also print your immunisation history at the time you receive your vaccination.
Is your information secure?
According to Services Australia, the current COVID-19 digital certificate features a number of safeguards against fraudulent activity.
When you look at the certificate on your phone, you will notice that the coat of arms gives a parallax effect. This means that the image shifts and changes colour as you tilt the screen.
The digital certificate is also authenticated with an animated tick, document number and a clock located beneath the coat of arms.
However, the Express Plus Medicare app has security vulnerabilities that allow people to fake their COVID-19 vaccination certificates. The Australian Cyber Security Centre is advising government bodies to support vaccine certificate development and further safeguards.
Beware of scams
COVID-19 vaccine certificates are free.
Many people are receiving text and email messages with a link, offering COVID-19 passports for $2. Do not click on the link.
“They’re a scam. If you click on those links, they will then ask you for private information, and if you make the mistake of disclosing that, trust me – it will cost you well over $2,” says Mr Jongen.
Services Australia has a handy tool to help people get proof of vaccination based on their circumstances: servicesaustralia.gov.au/covidvaccineproof