Covid vaccine certificate – where to find it, and what it means

As premiers across Australia continue to tout eased restrictions while the Covid-19 vaccination rollout marches on, several leaders have hinted at greater freedoms for those who have received both jabs of the vaccine. 

As used in several other countries, vaccine passports are being peddled in Australia as a way to differentiate between those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not.

On Wednesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian called on the state to “get ready” for a reopening just weeks way and for businesses to ensure their staff have been double vaccinated.

A woman shows a another woman her phone to gain entrance into a building.
Moving forward, people will soon need to prove they have been vaccinated in certain settings. Source: Getty

Other industries have been given deadlines when a vaccine mandate will kick in and certain public places are expected to require vaccine proof for entry. Many businesses across Australia are now mandating vaccines for their employees.

But without a national vaccine passport rolled out at this stage, how do residents and workers prove they have been vaccinated?

Services Australia tells Yahoo News Australia they are ensuring Australians have “easy access” to proof of their Covid-19 vaccinations for “wherever they may need it”.

How can I prove I have been vaccinated?

Currently Services Australia allows those who have been vaccinated to download two types of documents – an immunisation history statement and a COVID-19 digital certificate.

The immunisation history statement displays all vaccines previously received.

The COVID-19 digital certificate shows just your Covid vaccines and is only available once both jabs have been administered.

An example of the A4 Covid-19 digital certificate from the Australian Government.
An example of the Covid-19 digital certificate fully vaccinated people can obtain. Source: Yahoo News Australia

How can I access my vaccine certificate?

To access either certificate online, you will need to have a MyGov account.

Most people will want to access their certificates through their phones, which are available through multiple apps.

The Express Plus Medicare app provides both certificates for people with Medicare but your Medicare must be linked to your MyGov account. This can be done through the app, where you will be asked to prove you are the holder of the account.

If you cannot provide adequate information, which has been a common complaint, you can call 132307 for assistance linking the account.

Once done, the documents can be accessed on your phone and is displayed in a PDF.

They can also be accessed directly through the MyGov site via the Quick Links section once logged in.

If you don’t have Medicare, you can access your certificates by getting an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) which can be set up through MyGov, however can be done by post.

Others will want to use their My Health Record to view the certificates, which can be accessed through either the Healthi app or the HealthNow app.

A My Health Record account can only be created with a MyGov account.

The Covid-19 digital certificate can be added to your Google Pay or Apple wallet from the Express Plus Medicare app or through MyGov.

What if I can’t access my certificates online?

If you are unable to access your certificates online or through the apps, you can call the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809 who can send your immunisation history statement to you.

Your vaccination provider can also print it for you.

What if my certificates are wrong?

Your vaccine provider must first report your vaccines to Australian Immunisation Register which can take several days and up to 10 days in some cases, Services Australia says.

There have been some reports of mistakes on the certificates, or vaccines not showing up after the advised processing time. In this situation, you can call the Australian Immunisation Register general enquiries line on 1800 653 809.

What do the experts say?

At this stage, the certificates are not viewed as the long-term solution for proof of vaccine which will eventually be needed to travel overseas.

UNSW data privacy expert Dr Helen Paik from UNSW Computer Science and Engineering says the current certificates are “essentially glorified PDF documents”.

RELATED: Alarming problem with Australia’s Covid vaccine ‘passport’

Dr Paik says they display a range of personal information which can be trimmed down to protect privacy and avoid being scammed.

She believes adopting a QR code system would be a suitable choice moving forward, with those requiring proof simply scanning the code without the holder revealing their personal details.

Services Australia could not provide any information on what options are being considered for the future and whether a separate app to existing ones would be needed.