Australia Begins Work For Vaccine Passports, Plans Border Re-Opening
Australia announced plans for vaccine passports and border re-opening measures this week. While specific dates have not been announced, the Australian government is laying the groundwork now to be ready when the time comes.
The Australian government does not plan to re-open its border or remove its strict (and expensive) hotel quarantine measures until at least 80% of its adult population is vaccinated. According to government data on vaccination rates, 42.6% of Aussies over age 16 are fully vaccinated. 67.8% have received at least their first dose.
Once the 80% vaccination threshold is met, Australian plans to re-open its border for inbound and outbound travel. This is where Australia’s plan for vaccine passports comes into play. They plan to use their overseas embassies and consulates to verify vaccination status in advance with key tourism partners. The preliminary plan includes Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S., along with Australia’s neighboring Pacific islands.
Additionally, only certain vaccine types will be accepted. They must be the types approved for use in Australia: Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. To date, none of the Russian-developed or Chinese-developed vaccines are approved for use in Australia. People who have received those would not be eligible to visit under Australia’s new vaccine passports program until something changes.
This groundwork for Australia’s vaccine passports program is starting now, even though some cities have re-entered lockdown. The goal is to prepare now, so they are ready to begin as soon as the latest wave of Covid-19 cases is under control & vaccination thresholds are met.
When Could This Happen?
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hopes that the 80% vaccination threshold will be met by the end of November. If so, he forecasts a mid-December border opening date, if everything goes according to plan.