Services Australia ‘supercharges’ myGov ahead of COVID jab

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COVID-19 vaccinations will soon begin in Australia, and to prepare, the federal government is asking people to link their digital government services, specifically myGov and Medicare accounts.

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said linking myGov and Medicare online services would allow individuals to access digital proof they have had a vaccination.

See also: AU$24m vaccination campaign to ignore misinformation from federal MPs

He also said Services Australia has “supercharged” the government’s online service portal.

“Services Australia has been putting in the work to ensure government services are simple, respectful, transparent, and helpful — so we have supercharged myGov and we have state-of-the art cybersecurity in place to protect the Australian Immunisation Register,” he said.

“Linking your myGov and Medicare digital accounts is a simple step you can take right now that will help you and your family be ready for a vaccinated Australia.”

Earlier this month, Robert touted a vaccination passport, a digital record confirming people have received the jab through the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

“They will have a record, they will have a digital and paper certificate. For some 89% of Australians that have a smartphone, they will be able to access that digital certificate in their smartphone, download it onto their phone as a permanent record,” Robert said at the time.

On Friday, he added the AIR has undergone significant upgrades in preparation for COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“The AIR already allows you to see your recorded immunisations through myGov or the Medicare Express Plus app through an ‘immunisation history statement’,” he said. “Almost 5.5 million immunisation history statements were securely accessed by individuals between October 2019 and August 2020. Your immunisation history statement will record your COVID-19 vaccinations.”

In March last year, myGov crashed when many Australians tried to determine if they qualified for support from the country’s Centrelink scheme.

Robert was quick to claim the portal suffered a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack while simultaneously blaming the outage on legitimate traffic that pushed past the 55,000 concurrent users limit set by government.

Those words were barely two hours old when Robert stood up in Parliament to say it was merely 95,000 people trying to connect to myGov that had triggered a DDoS alert, and not an attack at all.

“We’ve gone from 6,000 to 50,000 to 150,000 all in the space of, a matter of a day. And tonight, they’re working to boost it again. I would say to Australians, yes, we are terribly sorry, but at the same time, we are asking Australians, even in these most difficult of circumstances, to be patient. Everyone is doing their best,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison later clarified.

According to Robert, there are currently 19.7 million active myGov accounts with 9.9 million linked to Medicare.

Since 30 June 2020, on average, 150,000 new myGov accounts have been created and linked to a member service each month and 92,000 myGov accounts have been linked to Medicare each month.

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