Vaccine passports could potentially alter the way we live, especially for our migrant population who have been separated from their loved ones due to border closures and the shambolic MIQ.
The concept is getting lots of international attention, and was first floated to allow for international travel, but is likely to be used domestically as well.
Health experts say a vaccine passport, with better contact tracing, is New Zealand’s best chance at controlling Covid-19 without reliance on harsh lockdowns.
Domestically, festival and large event organisers are also looking for more clarity from the Government about vaccine requirements, as it works to release a “vaccine passport” in time for summer.
Restaurant owners are also asking the Government to make vaccine passports available for their industry, with almost two in three saying they see this as a tool for safer and steadier trading.
The way things are going, a vaccine passport might define your entry into something as simple as a taxi cab and right through to cross border international travel.
We are being made to understand that the Ministry of Health and Customs are working on the Government’s vaccine passport, which will be able to confirm if the holder has been vaccinated.
As the New Zealand Government starts to consider a vision for a post-lockdown future, and Australia prepares to trial vaccine passports with selected countries, questions are being asked about impacts on liberty and privacy for vaccine passport use within a country.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says once 80% of adults have had two shots, people will be allowed to travel overseas again. Qantas has already announced its schedules and even pricing for select international flights.
Proof of vaccine records will be needed for outgoing and inbound travelers from the Pacific, the UK and the US, also Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
Our Ministry of Health has confirmed vaccine passports will be available for Kiwis later this year.
New Zealand's 'vaccine passport' is likely to be a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code.
But vaccine passports have also prompted riots and protests overseas, and there are as yet unanswered questions about their use domestically especially around privacy and discrimination.
Internationally, citizens of some countries are more likely to have access to vaccines, and therefore to vaccine passports, than citizens of other countries. And within countries, some individuals and groups are more likely to have access to vaccines than others.
Meanwhile the UK has rowed back on vaccine passports for use within England, for fear of limiting freedoms and creating a two-tier society.
On the other hand, the British Government announced a major simplification of its rules for international travel on 17th September and have since removed most countries from their red or banned list.
They have also signalled that they will not snap lock their borders at short notice, thereby reducing uncertainity to travellers.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said "the changes were possible because of Britain's high vaccination rate. Almost 82 per cent of people 16 and up in the UK are fully vaccinated."
Testing requirements will be eased for fully vaccinated arrivals to England from open countries, who will no longer have to take a Covid-19 test before travelling. Travellers will still need a test after landing, but from the end October an inexpensive lateral flow test will suffice, rather than a more sensitive – but pricier – PCR test.
Only unvaccinated travellers will still have to self-isolate for 10 days, as well as taking coronavirus tests before and after their trips.
The above changes by the British government will go a long way in uniting mirant families and allowing them back and forth travel from their home country,
Therefore, with a high percentage of the population being vaccinated, a workable vaccine passport system and a pragmatic border management system, seems to be the only hope for our migrant population as they yearn to visit their families across the fortified border of New Zealand, made worse by the faceless, heartless system called MIQ.