NSW contemplates its own proof-of-vaccination app

victor-dominello.jpg

NSW Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello

Image: Victor Dominello

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday announced the first step out of lockdown for residents of the state, which includes the gathering of up to five people, providing they are all fully vaccinated, come September 13.

“I want to strongly message today that New South Wales is calling on industry and citizens to get ready for when we are 70% double vaccinated, that’s when things will start to open,” she said.

Such preparations include making sure QR codes — allowing people to check-in via the Service NSW app — are displayed accordingly.

“The NSW government will start conversations with industry, but we do say that the condition of you participating in what will be reopening is on you being vaccinated, because when you start opening at 70% there are certain activities only vaccinated people can do, because we know that while a certain portion of the population is unvaccinated, that poses a risk to too many people,” she continued.

“So for that reason, we’re asking industry to dust off their COVID safety plans, get the QR codes in check, and we’re also working on an app in NSW that will allow you to sign into a venue, but also have proof of vaccination all in one to make it as simple as possible.”

Currently, Australians can receive a “proof of COVID-19 vaccination” through the Express Plus Medicare mobile app, which displays vaccinations someone has received post-1996; it can also be retrieved through an individual’s myGov account.

Those vaccinated can add their COVID-19 digital certificate to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Those not eligible for Medicare can call the Australian Immunisation Register for a hard copy, or can use the Individual Healthcare Identifiers service through myGov for a digital version.

With Berejiklian signalling the state government’s intention to develop its own app that displays vaccination status during her press conference, Service NSW was tight-lipped on any plans for it to be added to the Service NSW app, which is where check-in is currently handled for businesses in the state.

“The NSW government is actively considering its policies around the development and application of a vaccination certificate,” a spokesperson told ZDNet.

Earlier this month, the app received a few tweaks, including extending log in time to up to four hours. This week, Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello tweeted his plan to have further information added to the app.

“Many have given feedback — they would like to get notified of Covid exposure sites — via their ServiceNSW app. The idea is that a notification will automatically be triggered once a venue you have checked into is deemed an exposure site, with a message to get tested,” he wrote.

He said users will also be able to see the alert in their check-in history.

“Imagine via the app having the option to book your vaccine/flu shot, parent/teacher interviews, driver’s testing etc. The vision is for your ServiceNSW app to be your front door key to access govt services,” he added.

As of 9pm AEST 25 August 2021, there were over 13,150 active cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with over 46,700 cases since January 2020. Stay-at-home orders continue to be in place around the country, with a majority of the population of New South Wales under lockdown since June 25.

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