Australia will start issuing vaccine passports in October, The Sydney Morning Herald reports, but open borders are still a bit of a way off.

The vaccine passports are set to be available either as hard copies or on your phone, and the federal government is also in talks with the states about integrating them with the various check-in apps.

While this is a huge and very welcome step towards opening back up, don’t get too excited. International travel won’t actually resume until we hit 80% double-dose coverage, and that’s not set to happen until around mid-November, according to the latest estimates.

Vaccine passports will be used in tandem with home quarantine in order to minimise the risk of spreading COVID across borders. Home quarantine is already being trialled in South Australia and will hopefully expand soon.

“For people to be able to leave the country if they’re vaccinated and return, to lift the caps on airports, for people returning back from overseas, home quarantine needs to be at scale and needs to be tested and ready,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Sky News on Tuesday.

The federal government is talking to other countries about recognising these passports and setting up a large, international travel bubble.

For anyone getting freaked out about needing to be vaccinated to travel overseas: that was pretty much the case before COVID anyway.

If you’ve been overseas in those distant, pre-COVID times, chances are you had to get jabbed against something like hepatitis A, rabies or typhoid.

As for documentation, Australia already requires yellow fever vaccination certificates from travellers from certain African and South American countries. Aussies travelling into those countries also need to show a yellow card.

None of this is new or scary. If anything, it should be an exciting first step to opening back up to the rest of the world.

Image: Getty Images / James D. Morgan