Vaccine passports: everything you need to know

Oct 29, 2021
Vaccine passports are set to become a fixture of international travel. Source: Getty Images.

With international travel set to return in November, the recently introduced vaccine passports are set to become as much a part of travel as carry-on luggage.

Vaccine passports provide a secure record of vaccinations when traveling overseas and will be essential when entering another country and returning home.

In a joint statement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne announced the introduction of international vaccine passports on October 18, 2021.

“Australians are another step closer to safe overseas travel with the introduction of the Australian Government’s International Covid-19 proof of vaccination,” she said.

“The international proof of vaccine will enable fully vaccinated Australians to depart Australia and to travel internationally.

“The launch of the international proof of vaccine is a key step towards safely reopening international borders and supporting Australia’s Covid-19 economic recovery.

“Requesting an international certificate is free and easy.”

Although the introduction of the vaccine passport will allow Australians to travel freely all over the world after borders closed in March 2020, there are those who oppose the introduction of vaccine passports and having to show proof of vaccination in daily life.

The Queensland Council of Civil Liberties’ (QCCL) President, Michael Cope expressed “concerns about proposals that Australians may be required to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.”

“The idea that we need a vaccination passport to facilitate a safe re-opening is just plain wrong in the face of these rates of vaccine acceptance,” he said.

“The QCCL has always been concerned that emergency measures to address the pandemic, will become entrenched. In this country, we have a tradition of freedom of movement without the need for proof of identity. Any vaccine passport could easily become a permanent feature and form the basis of a liberty threatening identity system.”

Minister for Government Services, Senator Linda Reynolds said in a statement, the vaccine passport provides a secure way for Australians to show proof of vaccinations when heading overseas.

“We are a nation renowned for loving to travel,” she said.

“The easiest way to request your international certificate is online using your Medicare online account through myGov or the Express Plus Medicare app.

“In most cases, the document is readily available within seconds of completing the request, and can be saved in your device or printed for hard copy proof.”

While much has been said and debate has raged about the introduction and use of vaccine passports, there’s been very little in the way of actually obtaining one.

In order to get the process of obtaining a vaccine passport rolling, you must have a current Australian passport or foreign passport with an Australian visa and have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

There are a few avenues through which you can get an international vaccine passport, Services Australia recommends using your online Medicare account through the myGov website or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

If you want to access your vaccine passport through your online Medicare account via the myGov website:

  • Firstly sign into your myGov account.
  • Click ‘Go to Medicare’ on the Proof of Vaccination link.
  • Choose ‘Request a certificate’ and select your name and then click Next.
  • Follow the steps to verify vaccination and passport details.

For those who are a bit more tech-savvy and want to use the Express Plus Medicare mobile app, the steps are much the same:

  • Choose Proof of vaccinations from Services.
  • Select ‘Request a certificate’.
  • Select your name, and then click Next.
  • Once again follow the steps to verify your vaccination and passport details.

If you don’t have a smartphone, can’t get online, or just prefer a physical copy, there are still options available:

If you’re not eligible for Medicare or are having trouble getting online, fear not, as you can receive a physical copy of your vaccine passport from the Australian Immunisation Register after you’ve had your Covid-19 vaccination. Simply call 1800 653 809 or visit a service centre to get the process started.

More than 140,000 Australians downloaded their International Covid-19 proof of vaccination on the first day of the Morrison Government’s launch.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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Will you be getting your vaccination passport in preparation for international travel recommencing?

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