What you need to do to be vaccination passport ready

The federal government says it will have a system in place within weeks to support the resumption of international travel once vaccination targets are hit.

Trade minister Dan Tehan told reporters the resumption of international travel would require “a system that can enable recognition of vaccination – a vaccination certification scheme”.

“We’re in the process of planning that, so that in the coming weeks we will have a system up and ready so when we hit that 70 per cent or 80 per cent vaccination mark Australians will be able to travel overseas again and also Australians will be able to return home in greater numbers,” he said.

“We’ll also be able to start welcoming international students, those who want to come here to work, ultimately tourists again.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s four-phase plan suggests Australians would be able to travel overseas again when at least 80 per cent of those aged over-16 are fully vaccinated.

Read: Most travellers support the use of a vaccine passport

The federal government is working on a QR code with the International Civil Aviation Organisation so vaccine certificates will be internationally recognised.

These codes would be integrated with state check-in apps for easy display of vaccination status.

“This is all part of our plan to open the economy and open the country safely,” said Mr Tehan.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has told her state that international travel could resume in time for Christmas.

Mr Morrison said last week that international travel may well resume in NSW before other states (‘allegedly’ preferencing NSW in vaccine distribution means NSW is far ahead of other jurisdictions in terms of vaccination rates).

Read: Expert says COVID likely to stymie family gatherings this Christmas

Once the vaccine rollout targets are hit and quarantine arrangements are sorted, we could be travelling overseas more freely, states The Guardian. However, the government’s plan, agreed by national cabinet, is “subject to change if required”.

Travel Weekly has shared some tips on what you need to do before your vaccine passport is issued.

It highlights the importance of checking that COVID-19 vaccination certification appears in your Medicare records.

“I checked my Immunisation History while waiting in line for my second jab, but my first jab hadn’t yet appeared,” the weekly wrote in its Traveltalk segment.

“‘Don’t worry,’ the on-site Medicare staffer told me. ‘The system is just a bit busy. Give it another week or so.'”

“Within a week, my second jab appeared in my Immunisation History, but my first one still failed to appear. This was before the current outbreak so while busy, I can’t imagine the folk inputting the data were anywhere near as busy as they are now.

“Because I had gotten vaccinated at a vaccination hub, there was no number I could call. I tried the Australian Immunisation Register. They told me to call Medicare. Medicare told me to call the Australian Immunisation Register. I was on hold with both for ages. I tried the Australian Immunisation Register again and a different person told me I could get my doctor to do it. But of course, my doctor didn’t have the vaccine serial number and no real proof that I had it done.

“I tried NSW Health. 50 mins later I was chatting to a lovely person who asked for my details, saw the record for my vaccination and, within days, my COVID-19 vaccination certification appeared.”

Fair warning to those who’d like to travel as soon as the gates open.

But this tip isn’t limited to international travel. It is hoped all citizens who have been fully vaccinated will enjoy certain freedoms once population targets are hit.

But they will need to prove their vaccination status.

To do this, link your Medicare to your myGov account, then download the Medicare Express app and check your Immunisation History.

Vaccination passports could be rolled out as soon as October, so get your details in order now and avoid longer hold times later.

The passport looks as if it will be in the form of a smartphone app featuring the same information as your passport, along with a QR code so other countries can check your vaccination status and the type of vaccine you’ve had.

Recent reports suggest not all countries will accept all vaccines.

Read: Which is the most-approved vaccine for international travel?

Regardless, the passport system will be a “key enabler to reopen borders and restart international travel to and from Australia”, says the International Air Transport Association.

Have you evidence of your vaccination status? How was the process? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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