Tourism Australia It's Our Best Shot Campaign
Tourism Australia It's Our Best Shot Campaign

Arrival Revival: Vaccine passports on track for October, international travel to follow

The Australian federal government will begin issuing COVID-19 vaccine passports from next month as preparations to restart international travel at the end of the year continues.

The Australian federal government will begin issuing COVID-19 vaccine passports from next month as preparations to restart international travel at the end of the year continues.

The first international immunisation certificates are set to be rolled out in October with the federal government also working with other countries to determine which vaccines will be recognised.

International travel is pencilled in to begin when vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and over reaches 80 per cent, which could be a few months away.

However, there is hope that borders could open before Christmas, with Qantas sticking with its December #ArrivalRevival plans and a proposed scheduled restart date of 18 December 2021.

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A spokesman for Stuart Robert, the cabinet minister in charge of digital and data policy, said further details would be released soon.

“The Morrison government continues to work towards vaccine assurance standards that will be one element of enabling vaccinated Australians to move and travel more freely,” he said on Wednesday.

In the US, people with proof they have had World Health Organisation-approved vaccines – including Australian-made AstraZeneca jabs – can self-monitor and get tested after entering the country.

People without approved vaccines must quarantine for a week.

All travellers arriving in Australia must complete two weeks’ quarantine regardless of vaccination status.

Trans-Tasman
Heartwarming scenes at Auckland Airport earlier this year, when the trans-Tasman bubble opened.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said home quarantine would be key for restarting international travel with premiers asked to provide timetables about introducing the measure.

“Home quarantine is where we go next,” he said.

State governments are also forging ahead with plans to link vaccination status to check-in apps which would allow people to be allowed into venues.

Mr Morrison said vaccine certificates would be needed to enter pubs, cafes and sporting events as well as being crucial for travel.

Meanwhile, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian says many freedoms will be restored for the fully vaccinated at 70 per cent coverage.

The state government is working on an update to the Service NSW app which combines QR code check-ins with vaccination status, so the fully vaccinated can easily check into venues.

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“Don’t be left behind when we start opening up, when we open up at 70 per cent double dose, it will be only for those who are vaccinated,” Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

“There’s time now to get your first dose and fit in your second dose before NSW starts opening up.

“If people want to enjoy the things we have missed such as a meal or (attending) any other venue, they’re going to have been vaccinated,” she said.

Dr Chant said she believed vaccination coverage in NSW could easily surpass 80 per cent by next week and potentially hit 90 per cent.

“Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I actually think we can,” she said.

Australia has fully vaccinated 39 per cent of its over-16 population while almost 64 per cent have received a single dose.

Source: AAP.