The Australian government will provide those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, a digital certificate to demonstrate their status.
The certificate has a coat of arms hologram and includes the person’s name, date of birth, and a green tick of validity and can be accessed through the Medicare app or online through MyGov once your vaccination provider has reported both doses of either AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna.
The Minister for Government Services Linda Reynolds said that the new digital record would make it simple for Australians to show their vaccination status anytime.
“The COVID-19 digital certificate makes proof of vaccination accessible anytime, anywhere,” Reynolds said. “We’re also giving people control over the level of vaccination history they share, as the certificate only shows your COVID-19 vaccination status.
“We’re guaranteeing everyone in Australia can get free COVID-19 vaccinations and making sure you can easily show proof of your immunisation,” Reynolds said.
The new certificate will not share information about non-COVID vaccinations or other health data, Services Australia said.
The move by the government has the backing of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), with the president of the Association, Dr. Omar Khorshid, saying that the AMA supported the creation of a mechanism and that it was a logical step.
“Australians need to be able to prove they are vaccinated one way or another,” he told ABC radio. “It’s going to be needed for international travel. It may well be needed in many workplaces.”
Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations has been argued by many political and business leaders to be a vital component to relax restrictions long-term around the world. But it is acknowledged that it is not a liberal or democratic move, a sentiment echoed by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday when, as part of the Reform for Resilience Commission (R4R Commission), he called for a global movement on vaccine passports.
“I know people will say this is tough; this is non-libertarian … but if you want to work in aged care, if you want to get on an aeroplane, if you want to go to a cinema; we are entitled to say, ‘Well, if you haven’t been vaccinated, then you can’t do it,’ just to protect the rest of the community,” Turnbull said.
However, not everyone agrees with this argument. Independent MP Craig Kelly and Liberal MP George Christensen are both concerned about the potential for vaccine passports to take away liberties. Kelly has announced that he will be introducing a bill into parliament to stop vaccine passports from being legislated.
Christensen has also launched an online petition supporting the push against vaccine passports which he deems wrong and discriminatory.
“We face a lot of pressure to vaccinate from, quite frankly, a fearful sector of the public; pressure from others that want to ‘get back to normal’ at whatever cost,” Christensen said. “There are many Australians who, like me, are not “anti-vaxxers”, but have legitimate concerns about injecting themselves and their family members with a rushed vaccine, and who want to wait to see whether there are side effects caused by the vaccine.”
As a result, the member for Mackay has said that he will be pushing hard against any attempt to have any vaccination passports that segregates Australians into haves and have nots and denies them jobs, denies them services, or denies them access to certain areas.