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COVID-19: Roll out of vaccinations in Australia

COVID-19: Roll out of vaccinations in Australia

On Friday (5 February) the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison announced the rollout of the vaccination program against COVID-19, which will commence towards the end of February.

Announcement from the minister

Yesterday, Sunday 7 February, Stuart Robert, the Government Services Minister announced that vaccinations would be reported to the national Immunisation Register:

‘. . . the Australian Immunisation Register will be the record for all vaccinations for Australians and that record will form the basis of the vaccination certificate that all Australians will be able to use, including visa holders.’

Stuart Robert, Minister for Government Services & Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme

He also confirmed that Australians will be able to access proof of vaccination via their Mobile phones, as well as in more traditional formats.

That certificate is available right now, people can access it from the Medicare Express Plus, from myGov, or indeed they can call or visit Services Australia and get a paper record.

Stuart Robert, Minister for Government Services & Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme

How this will all work and be recognised with passports and visa’s and by other countries is all a work in progress.

Roll out of Vaccine

People in the named priority groups like health workers, aged care residents etc will start to receive the Pfizer vaccine from late in February and the AstraZeneca vaccine is tagged to be approved within the next few weeks.

However, it has also been announced that AstraZeneca vaccine is not as effective in preventing the disease from the newer ‘South African’ strain of the virus, which takes the wind out of those sails. But it still does protect people from getting the more severe form of the disease.

Certificate security and use for international travel

Robert was less clear on a number of other details, like international acceptability, when certificates would be available on the App, how security would be ensured etc. Come on – I know some things will be governed by international agreements that are still being negotiated, but it’s not like you haven’t known this is coming.

2PAXfly Takeout

The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.

It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.

This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.

Am I surprised? No. Remember that Stuart Robert had to resign over a perceived conflict of interest involving shares and a visit to China, and was also intimately involved with the Robo-debt scandal that cost Australian taxpayers more than a billion dollars in reparations and compensation, not to mention the pain and suffering it caused to Australia’s most vulnerable.

Reporting the vaccine as part of the immunisation register is only sensible. It will be how this is linked to the MyGov App, and how we as travellers can use these immunisation certificates domestically and eventually internationally that will be more interesting. Bring us the plans and the detail, Stuart!

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