COVID passport to go viral?

Article published 10 March 2021

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VACCINATION passports are being rolled out across the world in efforts to return to a pre-COVID-19 sense of normalcy both quickly and safely.

Israel has already rolled out “green passports” that allow citizens who have been vaccinated the ability to visit gyms, concerts and restaurants.

The passport is available to be downloaded onto a smartphone but is also able to be printed out on paper.

Israel is home to a community of particularly strict Jewish adherents called Haredi Jews. The Haredi live by strict religious tradition that means they are opposed to some modern developments such as the use of technology.

The Government of Israel has allowed for vaccination passports to be printed out on paper so a QR barcode on the paper passport can be scanned and thus confirm that the holder has had their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Israel has shown that not everything in the 21st century must be stored on your mobile phone.

This is important for Australia as a significant proportion of Australians do not own a smartphone that can store such a passport.

If the Australian Government chooses to roll out a similar scheme, then it must make it available in paper form so that no one is excluded.

There has been some opposition to vaccination passports on the grounds that individuals have the choice to not be vaccinated. They should not suffer consequences if they choose to not be vaccinated.

Obviously, people who cannot have vaccinations for medical reasons should not be discriminated against.

However, if someone who can be vaccinated chooses not to be and puts themselves and the community at risk of catching COVID-19, a deadly infectious disease, perhaps should be discriminated against.

The consequence for someone who chooses to not be vaccinated could be that they are not allowed to enjoy leisurely activities such as going to gyms, concerts and restaurants.

Everyone has a responsibility to keep the community safe from COVID-19.

Vaccination passports are not an entirely new idea. Within six days before arriving in Australia from a yellow fever risk country, Australians must provide an international certificate for yellow fever that states that they have been vaccinated against the infectious disease.

Vaccination passports are not a breach of civil liberties, they are a necessary device that may allow life to return to normal faster than previously thought possible.

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