COVID passport to go viral?

Article published 10 March 2021

COVID passport to go viral?

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. Those who have not been vaccinated may still be able to visit essential services such as supermarkets.

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, which means they are opposed to some modern values 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 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 and should not suffer consequences if they choose to not be vaccinated.

People who, because of medical reasons, cannot have vaccinations should not be discriminated against.

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

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