It’s finally happening. According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday morning, Australians are just weeks away from getting vaccine passports, which means jetting off overseas could be closer than you think.
The publication reports: “The federal government will start issuing international Covid-19 vaccination certificates from October and is also in talks with other countries to work out which vaccines will be recognised in international travel bubble arrangements.”
The vaccine passports for international travel will be available either on travellers’ phones or in printed form.
International travel has been off limits since March last year, when Australia closed its borders. They aren’t expected to reopen before the country reaches phase three, which sees 80 per cent off the population fully vaccinated. You can read more about Australia’s four-phase plan out of Covid here.
Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday night, Morrison threw his support behind the concept, but said he prefers the name “vaccine certificates”.
“What I refer to them, people have certificates of vaccination,” he said. “I have one. We all have them. Of course, we have them for many other things as well. And, you’re going to need them for international travel as well.”
However, he went on to say for international travel to work home quarantine will need to be up and running.
“But, for international travel to work, we need home quarantine done, and I’m very encouraged by what we’re seeing in South Australia and the technology trial that’s underway there,” Morrison said. “New South Wales going down a same path. In Western Australia as well, they’ve been working with an app for some of their domestic-based home quarantine, which has been quite effective.
“Home quarantine is where we go next. And, the length of that quarantine also was what we’re looking at. Now, I’ll be following up last Friday’s meeting with the premiers, writing to them, looking to get some timetables about their introduction of home quarantine.”
Travel at 60s Chief Commercial Officer Wendy Harch has welcomed the news, saying clients are itching to travel and would readily welcome home quarantine options!
“As soon as we can travel to countries with a bilateral agreement to accept the Australian vaccine passport, I believe we are going to see a lot of boomers on the move, especially to countries nearby like South Pacific islands, Singapore, Japan and of course New Zealand,” she told Starts at 60.
“The reality for international travel is airlines will have requirements, cruise lines will have requirements as will cafes, restaurants and hotels in the country you visit. So it wont be simple, but we won’t be taking it for granted anymore!”
Starts at 60 has reached out to the prime minister’s office for confirmation.
The news of vaccine passports and home quarantine options come as a leading epidemiologist predicted Australia will soon learn to live with the virus.
“The virus is in the community, the Covid-19 response transition has begun, and we are on track to live with the virus, but control the disease, from the first quarter of 2022,” Professor Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, wrote in the peer-reviewed journal, Public Health Research and Practice, on Wednesday.