Vaccination certificates coming to Apple Wallet, Google Wallet?

Your smartphone will soon be used to display proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

By David Flynn, February 8 2021
Vaccination certificates coming to Apple Wallet, Google Wallet?

Australians will be able to carry a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate on their smartphones once the national vaccine rollout begins.

While a paper-based card or certificate to tuck into your wallet or purse will also be available, "proof of vaccination" will initially be added to the Government's own MyGov and Express Plus Medicare app.

However "down the track, retrieving your vaccination certificate could be as simple as double-tapping a smartphone to access the certificate in a digital wallet," according to The Sydney Morning Herald, which has reported on the government's plans.

"The rollout of the certificates program has gone to the federal cabinet... final cabinet approval is due in the next two weeks, and an update to the Express Plus Medicare app is due shortly."

As previously reported, the new digital version of Australia's incoming passenger card for all inbound travellers could also include proof of COVID vaccination.

Airline vaccination apps

Airlines are already assessing smartphone apps which can store vaccination certificates along with the results of pre-flight COVID tests.

British Airways will this month join Singapore Airlines in trialling the International Air Transport Association's Travel Pass, which the industry body hopes will become a global standard to help restart travel and potentially replace mandatory quarantine.

Qatar Airways will begin testing the Travel Pass in March, with Emirates and Etihad Airways to follow.

Singapore Airlines says it will integrate Travel Pass functionality into its own mobile app by the middle of this year on the expectation that "COVID-19 tests and vaccinations will be an integral part of air travel for the foreseeable future."

BA and American Airlines are also using the independent VeriFLY 'health passport' for flights between London and the United States, although the app is currently limited to showing the results of a COVID-19 test.

Australia's vaccine rollout

Australia expects to begin COVID-19 vaccinations later this month, with initial priority groups receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, of which 20 million have now been ordered by the government.

The vaccination program will then pick up the pace with some 50 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being produced in Melbourne, while the government remains hopeful of adding 51 million doses of the Novavax shot in the second half of the year if it proves successful.

Almost half of the Australian population falls within one of the 'priority groups' slated to receive the vaccine in the first half of this year, with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt saying "we expect that Australians will be fully vaccinated by the end of October, on the basis that it’s free, universal and entirely voluntary."

Vaccination is expected to lead to a restart of international travel, beginning with other countries which have brought COVID-19 under control.

Qantas now plans to resume most overseas flights by July 1 and is currently selling tickets for flights to Asia, the United States, London and South Africa.

The airline has suggested that vaccination will be compulsory for most travellers, citing widespread support by 87% of flyers surveyed.

Australians are currently banned from flying overseas until at least March 2021, except for those who have obtained an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force.

Read more: Australian travel ban exemptions prove easy for some, hard for too many


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

I have no trouble with having a digital vaccination certificate. Similarly, I have no issue with that certificate being held in a Government-enabled app, such as the Medicare app. I also have no objection to an IATA-developed app which can be melded into an airline Frequent Flier app.

What I DO have a problem with, is my vaccination certificate being offered via an Apple or Google Digital Wallet.

Time was, health records were regarded as sacrosanct and not the purvey of commercial entities. In the USA, healthcare is run as a commercial operation and we see just how effective that is (not). It is not unusual for the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple etc to have access, even indirectly, to an individual's health record. With the trend towards the dismissal of personal privacy by the majority of tech companies, is it a fair point to question whether these companies should have access to such information?

For those that say 'yes', I do not share your view. It is already well-known that Google, Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway are in collusion to set up an alternate health care / insurance company, which by dent of size, will be a market leader. Who Apple is talking to is anyone's guess - but rest assured, Apple is already involved with multiple health / insurance plays with industry players.

Thank you, but NO. Google is so intrusive on the Android and Apple IOS platforms, that whether you have an account with them or not, is irrelevant. For my liking, I will preserve my privacy and investigate alternative digital solutions. 


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

Agree fully kimship, that is why I don’t use Apple Pay. Privacy issues with these private providers are almost impossible to be assured of.


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 199

I believe that “privacy” doesn’t exist very much as many organisations are now permitted to share my details. And I’m quite happy to have targeted marketing as a result of this information sharing. So I’m quite happy for a Travel pass to be added to any App that makes more convenient for me to pass quickly through security checkpoints while travelling. What I’m more concerned about is having to handle a Covid check through a Government agency, as these agencies seem to notoriously bad at designing good Apps.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Dec 2011

Total posts 11

What about using the old fashioned yellow vaccination book we were all issued with before travelling overseas, we all still have to carry a passport so carrying an extra book isn't going to be a problem. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2013

Total posts 10

I agree with Taxman42 - I still carry my yellow jab book with my passport etc... in my travel wallet - sadly sitting in my bedside cabinet for over 12 months so  bring on the vaccination so I can enjoy once again the joys of inflight catering 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 527

I wouldn't be happy with any of these methods. The old fashioned yellow paper certificate will continue to be accepted. Not everyone has a smart phone. My concern lies more with the certainty that this article implies that these certificates will be used in the future. I'm not so sure about that.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

Generally speaking, those that 'don't have smartphones' fall into one of two categories: those that refuse to be tracked OR the elderly, who are often technologically untrained.

Oh, the horror. How will they ever buy and track their Bitcoin ?

In reality, the 'old fashioned' (by your own admission) paper certificates are at most risk of forgery and abuse. Like cheques and plastic Frequent Flyer cards, they will be gone sooner than you think.

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