Vaccine passports: How Australia’s trial compares to the world

In Australia, accounting firm KPMG has urged the Morrison government to consider the practicality of a “vaccine passport” scheme to restart immigration in order to fill a labour shortage in regional areas. Globally, vaccine passport schemes have caused controversy due to concerns over a person’s right to medical privacy. Here’s how the rollouts of vaccine passports are playing out globally. AUSTRALIA Qantas began its first passenger trial of a digital “vaccine passport” system in early March. The national carrier says it will be necessary for overseas travel when Australia’s international border eventually reopens.Qantas used the CommonPass digital health app on a government repatriation flight from Frankfurt that arrived in Darwin.CEO Alan Joyce has said the airline views vaccinations as a “necessity” for international travel. UK In Britain, a “COVID status certification” scheme is being developed to enable concerts and sporting matches to take place.This would record whether people had been vaccinated, recently tested negative or had natural immunity after already suffering a bout of coronavirus.Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston told the BBC any scheme to prove people are safe to attend mass-audience events would be “time-limited”.The British government is looking at events including the FA Cup Final and the World Snooker Championship as trials to work out ways to hold mass events safely. Other approaches being considered are improved ventilation and testing before and after events. Former Tory cabinet minister David Davis questioned the need for the COVID passport scheme, saying British people were “not used to presenting papers — or the electronic equivalent” — to go to the pub.“That is not what we think of our freedoms,” he said.International Vaccine EffortsUSThere is currently no vaccine passport in the US, but it’s getting close. USA Today reports that the IATA Travel Pass is being tested among 22 airlines and is expected to be released in the US soon. It will be limited to air travel and border crossings.The travel pass stores information on a passenger’s health, including whether they have had virus tests or vaccines.ISRAEL Israel, which already has the world’s highest vaccination rate, introduced its “Green Pass” vaccine passport system in February.The certificate, available as either a smartphone app or paper ID using a QR code for authentication, is the only vaccine passport in widespread use. The Green Pass is available to Israeli residents who been fully vaccinated and people must show it to access facilities such as hotels, gyms or theatres.The smartphone app has raised privacy issues and concerns that a “hierarchy” will be created, leaving the unvaccinated population behind.EUROPEAN UNION The EU Commission has brought forward its proposal for the creation of a Digital Green Certificate in a bid to restore travel for those who are vaccinated. Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, said the new documents will be used as proof that the traveller has been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. In the case that none of the first two has taken place, the document will show the traveller’s test results. “We have to shift to the next gear. This will be the price for having a tourist season that I hope will be comparable to last year’s, which in the end wasn’t so bad in the context we’re in,” Breton told RTL radio and TV channel LCI.

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