‘I am still waiting’: some Australians turned away from getting Covid vaccine because of register errors

·4-min read

Incorrect or missing records on the national immunisation register are causing some people to be turned away from getting a Covid-19 vaccine in locked-down Sydney, while others are being wrongly recorded as receiving the “hepatitis” jab or no vaccination at all.

On Saturday, Guardian Australia reported that Sydney bus driver Ke Hua was wrongly recorded as fully vaccinated on the Australian immunisation register (AIR), despite not having a single dose, causing significant confusion when he showed up at Royal Prince Alfred hospital for his jab.

More reports have now emerged of significant problems with recording Covid-19 vaccinations on the register, which is administered by Services Australia and serves as the main database of a person’s immunisation status.

Many of the reported errors appeared to be linked to the mass NSW vaccination hub at Homebush.

Related: Sydney man told he was fully vaccinated – despite not receiving a single Covid jab

Sydney resident Gary, who asked his surname not be used, received a first vaccine dose at the Homebush hub early last month, but it was not recorded on the register.

“Due to this anomaly I was refused my second jab this week,” he said. “The vaccination centre managed to confirm verbally that the first shot had occurred but refused (the second dose) without written proof.

“This took another hour - I have already spent hours on the phone to NSW health, AIR and [the] national virus hotline but no one can help or advise when this will be updated.”

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Another Sydney man told the Guardian he has waited for two weeks for his online records to be updated with his second dose, which he received at the Homebush centre.

He was told there was a widespread problem affecting records of people who got their jab at the site. He was handed a form to fill out to correct the record.

“I lodged my form over a week ago but still have not heard anything, although they say it will take up to 10 days to process,” he said. “I don’t immediately need the record of vaccination, but I am sure that others will need it for work, so it is not a good situation. With the strong focus now on vaccines, it is important that people are able to get a record of their vaccination.”

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Wayne Berkowitz, also from Sydney, was vaccinated at Homebush and said his immunisation record has still not been updated after receiving his second dose on 15 July.

He called Services Australia and spoke to someone working on the registry itself, who directed him to the vaccine centre back at Homebush. They told him the record would be updated within a “few weeks”.

“I am still waiting. I was not given any vaccination card by the operator at Homebush so the only proof I have is two photos I took of myself with the nurse,” he said.

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“Not wanting to create more drama as I think the overall vaccination operation at Homebush was impressive – but hopefully this delay wasn’t due to a data entry mistake and it is simply a backlog from Homebush.”

Chris Walsh, of Denmark in Western Australia, went in for his second dose on Sunday, only to be asked to confirm it was, in fact, his second.

He later went home and found the register had recorded his first dose, administered on 11 June, as a “Hib Hepatitis jab. Brand name Comvax”.

He has since asked for the record to be updated, but it remains inaccurate, suggesting he got both a Hepatitis B and Covid-19 vaccine on 11 June, when he only received the latter.

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