Residents of New South Wales could see their local pubs and clubs enforce a 'vaccine passport' system that would prohibit those who refuse the Covid-19 jab from entering a venue.
According to Sky News, data-sharing arrangements between the federal government and Service NSW are currently in the works.
People would be able to show off their digital certificate through the Service NSW app.
As for how exactly it would display an individual's vaccination status, CEO of Service NSW's department of customer service Damon Rees said the system 'could involve a 'tick' appearing on the app to signal vaccination' and therefore able to enter a venue.
A spokesman for Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, who is responsible for the Service NSW app, added that 'a range of options will be canvassed to ensure the vaccine rollout is implemented effectively'.
"We will work closely with the federal government to determine the best way forward," he said.
While the plan is meant to encourage Australians to receive the vaccine, concerns have been raised regarding privacy and security issues surrounding a digital vaccine passport.
NSW Chief Cyber Security Officer Tony Chapman said he hasn't been asked to plan for security issues around such a system.
Last month, when asked by Greens MP David Shoebridge if he had asked to do any advance planning, Chapman said: "Cyber Security NSW to the best of my knowledge has not".
Shoebridge replied: "But surely this is the exact thing Cyber Security NSW is designed for? This would be a significant move, maybe an essential move. Surely you couldn't do that kind of work without knowing upfront that it would be secure and that Cyber Security NSW had signed off on it.
"Are you saying that basic preparation hasn't been done? That you haven't got the advice, that you don't know how a vaccine passport could be secured?"
Damon Rees assured that once a vaccine passport was officially decided, cybersecurity would involve 'a range of people and a range of organisations'.
"We would engage a range of external organisations from the start in the design and delivery," he said.
He wouldn't recommend going forward with a vaccination passport unless he was completely confident in the app's security.
While such a plan would help to combat community transmissions of Covid-19, Australian National University Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake said we would still need to be wary as some people who receive the jab will still be able to contract the virus.
"If we are all getting the Pfizer vaccine, which is 95 per cent efficacious at phase three trials, and hopefully continues to look that way, then I think a vaccine passport system might work, but even then there are 5 per cent of people who could still get symptomatic Covid," Dr Senanayake said.
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