Australians will be able to carry a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate on their smartphones once the national vaccine rollout begins.
While a paper-based card or certificate to tuck into your wallet or purse will also be available, “proof of vaccination” will initially be added to the Government’s own MyGov and Express Plus Medicare app.
However “down the track, retrieving your vaccination certificate could be as simple as double-tapping a smartphone to access the certificate in a digital wallet,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald, which has reported on the government’s plans.
“The rollout of the certificates program has gone to the federal cabinet… final cabinet approval is due in the next two weeks, and an update to the Express Plus Medicare app is due shortly.”
As previously reported, the new digital version of Australia’s incoming passenger card for all inbound travellers could also include proof of COVID vaccination.
Airline vaccination apps
Airlines are already assessing smartphone apps which can store vaccination certificates along with the results of pre-flight COVID tests.
British Airways will this month join Singapore Airlines in trialling the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass, which the industry body hopes will become a global standard to help restart travel and potentially replace mandatory quarantine.
Qatar Airways will begin testing the Travel Pass in March, with Emirates and Etihad Airways to follow.
Singapore Airlines says it will integrate Travel Pass functionality into its own mobile app by the middle of this year on the expectation that “COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be an integral part of air travel for the foreseeable future.”
(BA) and American Airlines are also using the independent VeriFLY ‘health passport’ for flights between London and the United States, although the app is currently limited to showing the results of a COVID-19 test.
Australia’s vaccine rollout
The vaccination program will then pick up the pace with some 50 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being produced in Melbourne, while the government remains hopeful of adding 51 million doses of the Novavax shot in the second half of the year if it proves successful.
Almost half of the Australian population falls within one of the ‘priority groups’ slated to receive the vaccine in the first half of this year, with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt saying “we expect that Australians will be fully vaccinated by the end of October, on the basis that it’s free, universal and entirely voluntary.”
Vaccination is expected to lead to a restart of international travel, beginning with other countries which have brought COVID-19 under control.
Qantas now plans to resume most overseas flights by July 1 and is currently selling tickets for flights to Asia, the United States, London and South Africa.
The airline has suggested that vaccination will be compulsory for most travellers, citing widespread support by 87% of flyers surveyed.
Australians are currently banned from flying overseas until at least March 2021, except for those who have obtained an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force.
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