Millions of Australians continue to be subjected to lockdowns and other Covid-19 restrictions. People travelling from one location to another spread the threat in a pandemic situation where an exceedingly infectious disease is wrecking havoc.
In the current situation, one person’s activity – whether reckless and aware or not – can practically damage the health of others. Even if 99.9% of the population comply with the public health rules about staying at home, human nature is such that some people are bound to make exceptions for themselves, and think it won’t matter. Unfortunately, sometimes it does matter, it matters very much.
It only takes one person to spread the virus to a new location where it hasn’t yet established itself. One nagging question on everyone’s mind is when things will return to normal. While the country’s virus-control techniques in Australia have been incredibly efficient thus far, they were always intended to be temporary until we got access to safe and effective vaccines, which we now have.
According to the targets agreed on in principle by National Cabinet, 70 percent of eligible Australians must be fully vaccinated to move from Phase 1 (suppression) to Phase 2 (transition), and 80 percent must be fully vaccinated to move to Phase 3. In each step, the proposal envisioned a gradual rollback of restrictions, such as lockdowns and border inspections for vaccinations.
Mr Morrison has often stated that he wants 80% of Australians to get vaccinated. The paradox is that while the government has stated that vaccination would always be “voluntary,” the laws are likely to make it nearly difficult for anyone who want to live a “normal” life without receiving a vaccination. This is one of the many paradigm shifts that will influence our transition to living with – and controlling – the disease by early 2022.
The Australian government will begin providing Covid-19 immunisation certificates in October 2021, allowing more of us to travel securely overseas. Your vaccination status will be linked to your passport chip, allowing you to access Australian vaccine certificates via your phone or computer.
It’ll either be Pfizer or AstraZeneca for the time being, with Moderna following suit soon. The passport will be part of a globally agreed-upon system, similar to ePassports, with international criteria met by both the app and the passport.
The vaccine certificates are being developed by Services Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but they will also be linked to a new technology developed by the Department of Home Affairs called the Digital Passenger Declaration, which will allow for the collection of health data. The administration is still attempting to integrate the three programmes together. The government is still determining which immunizations will be accepted by other countries when citizens travel.
Simply put, officials are aiming to ensure that, even if other nations do not use the same vaccines as Australia, they acknowledge that Australians have been completely vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by international agencies such as the World Health Organization to be recognised in international bubble agreements as it implements vaccination passports.
With a deployment date set for later this year in October-November, any new legislation or revisions to current laws would have to be rushed through Parliament, perhaps avoiding extensive analysis and strong debate.