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Australian government announces they will be requiring “Vaccine Passports” to leave or enter country

Recently, the Australian government stated that they will require “Vaccine Passports” in order to affirm that only vaccinated individuals are permitted to enter or leave the country.

“Every Australian will have a record of their vaccination should they need it,” Australian Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said on February 7. “It’s highly likely that a vaccination certificate or quarantine will still be required for international visitors to Australia,” Robert said of future travel conditions. Australia will launch its coronavirus vaccination campaign by the end of February. “The elderly and other priority groups will start to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine later this month, while the AstraZeneca drug is expected to be approved by Australian regulators within weeks” [Breitbart News].

The Educational Minister of Australia (Alan Tudge) reaffirmed his position regarding “Vaccine Certificates” and opining that “digital vaccine certificates could allow international students to return to Australia without the need for hotel quarantine.” The federal government planned to include vaccination status as part of an upcoming digital incoming passenger card, and Tudge told the Sydney Morning Herald that this had “the potential to be able to bring in more international students.” But Dr. Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious diseases specialist from the Australian National University, opined that it was still unclear how long vaccine immunity lasts and whether it stopped transmission.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that “linking the vaccination passport to the return of international students was “premature”. “It is not a silver bullet because there are still limitations to what these vaccines can do,” he said. “If you want to get at least 5,000 people into Australia a week, which is what we had been achieving, then the idea that you can build some sort of national set of camps that can accommodate that, that’s not a practical way to achieve it,” he said.

The secretary of the Department of Health, Brendan Murphy, also said it would take time to know how effective the various vaccines were. “That is the data we have to get from the experience of the world’s vaccinations over the next – what we call the phase 4 data, the real time experience,” he told reporters. “It may be that people will need additional doses of vaccines, possibly annually. These things are completely unknown at the moment. “I have said to the prime minister, I think about a year ago, I wouldn’t want to predict more than three months ahead with this pandemic. That still stands” [The Guardian].

Several Australian states and territories have closed their borders to non-essential travel from other regions due to the pandemic. Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, the Australian capital Territory, and the Northern Territory have all barred fellow Australians from entering their borders over the past year in an effort to curb local coronavirus transmission. The chief executive of Australia’s largest airlines announced in November that the carrier would implement a “no jab, no fly” policy on all of its international flights, requiring passengers to show proof of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. The World Health Organization and International Air Transport Association are also exploring options for an electronic travel pass to show evidence of vaccination.

ARTICLE: ANTHONY GONZALEZ

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: AARP

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