From today, you can access proof of vaccination to help you enter countries around the world, as overseas travel for Australians creeps closer.
And even if it’s a little early to be booking a trip to Paris, internationally recognised proof of vaccination is likely to be a reality of international travel for a while yet.
Here’s how to access yours, what it will do, and why you won’t be able to get one if you’re already overseas.
How do I get an international vaccine certificate?
If you received a COVID vaccine in Australia, the process should be relatively simple, and similar to how domestic proof of vaccination is accessed.
From today, people eligible for Medicare will be able to download a certificate from the MyGov website or the Medicare Express app.
To get the certificate, you’ll need to have an Australian passport or visa, and your immunisation needs to be recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register.
Those not eligible for Medicare who’ve been vaccinated in Australia can request a certificate by calling the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809 or visiting a Services Australia shopfront.
To download the certificate, you’ll be asked to provide your passport details, and you’ll receive proof of vaccination, complete with a QR code that can be scanned when you enter another country.
Once some international travel resumes on November 1, you’ll be able to present it either on your phone or as a printout when your passport is checked as you enter a country that requires vaccination.
The federal government says while the certificate will meet international standards, it’s up to each country to decide what proof of vaccination it will accept.
So Australians planning to travel overseas are advised to read up on their destination’s requirements on the Smartraveller website before taking off.
What if I’ve been vaccinated overseas?
If you’ve been vaccinated overseas and are waiting to return home, you won’t be able to apply for an Australian international vaccine certificate.
That’s because you can only have an international vaccination uploaded to the Australian Immunisation Register once you’re back in the country.
The government is yet to say exactly how people vaccinated overseas who haven’t had the chance to do that can prove their status.
“In coming weeks the government will finalise the processes for people to be able to show their vaccination status if they have had a TGA-recognised vaccine,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement on October 1.
The Smartraveller website recommends that you “carry your vaccination certificate … while travelling to Australia”.
The ABC has asked the Department of Home Affairs for an update on the rules.
How many countries will this work in?
According to Employment Minister Stuart Robert, the certificate will work in up to 145 countries, however not every country requires incoming passengers to prove their vaccination status.
It’s been designed to comply with standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is linked to the United Nations.
Mr Robert said the digital security of the system was as strong as that protecting Australians’ passport information.
But he said Australia was one of the first countries in the world to adopt the standard.
“This is the first set of certificates according to the standard; the Europeans have got their own and they’re rapidly moving across. So it’ll be a while before the world catches up,” he said.