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NSW confirms QR codes for digital vaccine certificates

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource

Minister for Customer Service and Minister for Digital, Victor Dominello has confirmed that the Service NSW app will be integrated with the Federal government’s existing digital vaccine certification system by mid-late September.

The Service NSW app will integrate with the Express Plus Medicare app, allowing customers to display their vaccine status when checking into venues, or to facilitate travel.

The Minister did not speculate on the existence of any restrictions, mandates, requirements or other permissions related to vaccine status when describing the future digital capability. The integration of the two apps will, however, make any of these much easier to implement.

Minister Dominello explained that integration will reduce the number of steps, digital applications or documents a person would need to prove their vaccine status.

The Service NSW app will allow people to check-in and display their vaccine status together with a personalised QR code, so a venue can verify the certificate’s authenticity. This will present as a much more convenient process than firstly signing in on arrival at a venue, secondly showing a vaccine certificate, and thirdly presenting matching identification.

Overseas evidence shows that to get into nightclubs, bars, and gyms, people will attempt to take screengrabs, photos, or edit digital certificates when vaccine certification and identification systems are not integrated.

Some venues in NSW are currently already required to record customers' contact details under Public Health Orders (this includes the option of noting details on paper for people without phones). Enforcement of this requirement is usually only occurring when contact tracers identify locations that have not been compliant.

Several jurisdictions have already introduced vaccine mandates.

From 17 September 2021, all residential aged care workers in Australia must be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

NSW will require ‘authorised workers’ living in specified LGA’s of concern to show proof of vaccination in order to leave these areas from 19 September.

Some states have made vaccines mandatory for high-risk health workers, and the AMA has called for mandates to be extended to all workers in the health system.

Some employers have also introduced vaccine mandates. Airlines Qantas and Virgin, and fruit cannery SPC have confirmed they will require staff to be jabbed as a condition of employment.

The Service NSW application and various digital identification systems are now widely used.

More than 6.5 million of the state’s 8-plus million people have downloaded the Service NSW app.

More than 3 million people are using the NSW Digital Drivers Licence. 

4.71 million have also provided Service NSW with 100 points of identification in order to downloaded Dine and Discover vouchers, and the Minister expects this to reach 5.1 to 5.3 million.

The Federal digital identity application, myGovID is also rapidly growing in popularity. Data provided to an ATO tax working group in November 2020 (before it was integrated to the Australian Immunisation Register) confirmed over 2.3 million downloads of app and more than 1.7 million users have provided identification document to complete the setup.

These myGovID figures will now be much higher because they pre-date the integration of vaccine information into AIR, and before the Delta lockdown started.

Minister Dominello predicted that when we reflect on the pandemic in the future, the use of QR codes would provide ‘bookends’: the ordeal began with QR code check-ins and will hopefully end with QR vaccine certificates.

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