As our vaccination rates creep closer toward 70 percent, we are dizzy at the prospect of leaving these god-forsaken four walls. After all, we've been told that this number will cast the death blow to lockdowns in NSW; while in Australia more broadly, this percentage opens up the possibility of international travel. But how will this work exactly? Will everyone be allowed to wander over to the pub and when can we catch a flight to Italy? If you've tuned into the news cycle you would have undoubtedly heard about vaccine passports. For those who need to be brought up to speed, we've covered everything you need to know about vaccine passports below.
What is a vaccine passport?
It's all in the name really, but a vaccine passport verifies that you've received both vaccine doses. This is important because when borders reopen and international travel is green lit, being fully vaccinated will grant you entry into countries sans the 14 day quarantine period.
Currently, the details are still being mulled over but the passport will be part of an internationally agreed upon system. Available in both digital and physical forms, the passport will be joined by a QR code that can be scanned by border officials as you enter other countries. As it stands our government is still finalising what vaccines they will accept from people wishing to enter Australia. Similarly, they are negotiating with other countries on what vaccines they should recognise. For example, the US has eschewed AstraZeneca in their own vaccine rollout, but will accept it from those wishing to travel to the States.
Countries within the European Union are already using vaccine passports; named the Digital Covid Certificate, allowing citizens to move freely across borders in the EU. While, the US have left individual states to decide its own stance on the matter.
When will I be eligible for a vaccine passport?
As the federal government is still finalising all the details of our vaccine passports, we probably won't be seeing one for at least another month. Although the government did announce they would be rolling out a vaccine passport trial in October.
At what point will I need to use it?
Just to be clear, there's a difference between a vaccine passport and a digital vaccination certificate. A vaccine passport is a necessary companion for anyone wishing to travel abroad. While the digital vaccination certificate is what we'll be showing when we wish to enter galleries and pubs — it's the thing you'll want to have once Gladys loosens restrictions and introduces more freedoms. So in a general sense, I guess it is a kind of vaccine passport, granting you access to venues and activities across Australia. But seeing as Scott Morrison ruled that businesses could deny service to anyone who isn't vaccinated, we're certain you'll want to download it. Especially once the government have decided they've granted individuals enough time to get vaxxed and start coming down on those who have hesitated.
How can you get a digital vaccination certificate? Simply download it online from your Medicare account or head to Service NSW for more information.