Australia has been living in a bubble since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but it looks like that’s all about to change thanks to vaccine passports.
The idea of introducing a vaccination passport isn’t new. It’s been tossed around since late last year as a way to reopen international borders and reduce strict quarantine requirements in Australia.
We’ve also seen many countries around the world adopt a similar approach to reopening for travel, so it seems to be the logical way forward.
This week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined when and how a vaccine passport for travel would be implemented.
How will vaccine passports be used for travel?
Australia’s vaccine passports for international travel will be available on a user’s phone or in printed form, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
There is apparently work underway to link an individual’s vaccination status to their passport chip. A plan has also been put forward to create an international vaccine certificate in the form of those QR codes we all know and love.
These international COVID-19 vaccination certificates will apparently start to be issued in October.
The federal government is in negotiation with other countries to see which vaccines will be recognised in travel bubble arrangements. There’s no word yet on whether vaccination status will need to be proved to cross domestic borders.
Airlines like Qantas have been in full support of vaccine passports since they started to be discussed and CEO Alan Joyce has made it clear that he plans for only vaccinated individuals to travel on international flights.
Right now, individuals can access their proof of vaccination via their myGov account or the Medicare app on their phone which can also be linked to a digital wallet.
It appears international COVID-19 vaccination certificates could also be integrated into this existing system or within state check-in apps.
Morrison has indicated that home quarantine will be the path forward towards reopening. Trials are currently occurring for new home quarantine systems using digital technology to monitor a person’s location, which could be the answer.
Reducing the length of quarantine for those who are fully vaccinated is also said to be in consideration.
Of course, this all hinges on Australian borders reopening for travel, which itself hinges on nationwide vaccination rates.
Under the government’s federal roadmap, international travel can be reintroduced when double-dosed vaccination rates hit 80%. The current data suggests Australia could hit this target as early as November if these rates continue.
It’s probably still too early to be optimistic about international travel, but the rollout of vaccine passports is a positive sign.