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Doctors throw weight behind Morrison's plan for digital vaccine 'passport'

Politics

Australians vaccinated against coronavirus will receive a digital certificate which has the backing of doctors as a key road out of the pandemic.

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People who have had both doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca are able to access proof through their Medicare account.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said allowing immunisation status to be displayed without disclosing other private health information was a logical step.

“Australians need to be able to prove they are vaccinated one way or another,” he told ABC radio.

“It’s going to be needed for international travel. It may well be needed in many workplaces. Yes, we do support a mechanism for you to demonstrate your vaccine status.”

The certificate has a coat of arms hologram and includes the person’s name, date of birth and a green tick of validity.

No one will be required to share information about non-COVID vaccinations or other health data.

Proof of immunisation is seen as vital to relaxing restrictions long term with some businesses and political leaders floating it as an incentive to receive jabs.

Government Services Minister Linda Reynolds said the new record would make it simple for people to show their vaccination status.

“The COVID-19 digital certificate makes proof of vaccination accessible anytime, anywhere,” she said.

The certificate can be accessed through the Medicare app or online through myGov.

Vaccination numbers continue to rise with locked down Victorians leading the country in rolling up their sleeves to receive the jab.

About one fifth of the 127,000 vaccinations administered in the most recent 24-hour reporting period were in Victoria.

More than 5.2 million doses have been administered but just 613,000 have been fully vaccinated with both shots.

Victoria recorded just one new infection on Wednesday, putting Melbourne on track to ease the harsh two-week lockdown on Friday.

But a return to a relatively normal life is set to be delayed with a 25-kilometre travel limit and restrictions on gatherings likely to remain in place.

Dr Khorshid said doctors supported a staged easing of lockdown.

“The government in Victoria has taken this outbreak very seriously particularly with this Delta strain that is so concerning in terms of its transmissibility as well as its severity,” he said.

“This gradual easing of restrictions is exactly what Victorians need right now to balance their safety with of course the need to open up and get back to normal.”

States continue to broaden vaccine eligibility faster than the federal rollout with Western Australia granting access for all people aged over 30.

Khorshid will address the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday with a pitch for doctors to shape health funding and systems beyond the pandemic.

“The government’s listened to science, they’ve listened to health experts. Surprise, surprise not only do we have the best health outcomes in the world we’ve also got an economy most countries would be envious of,” he said.

“There’s a strong lesson there as we go into the future.”

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