Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says it appears inevitable the Government will require visitors to New Zealand to prove theyve been vaccinated for Covid-19.
Hipkins, speaking to the AM Show on Tuesday morning, said it was likely there would be a global standard for documenting who has received a Covid-19 vaccine, and the Government would consider whether such documentation would be a required to enter New Zealand.
I don’t think we could stop citizens coming in, but it may well be that for others, for visitors coming in, it does become a requirement, he said.
Now that decision has not yet been taken, but it does have a certain inevitability about it.
Covid-19 Response minister Chris Hipkins says theres a certain inevitability
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The Government on Monday announced it had purchased enough of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, already being used in New Zealand, to inoculate the entire population.
Hipkins on Tuesday said the Government was planning for a large-scale vaccination campaign, using big venues and drive-thru vaccine centres, and will have in place a database to record who is vaccinated.
The database would allow for a vaccine passport system to be established, he said.
“We will be keeping a record of everyone who has been vaccinated. It’s likely that at some future point, people will need to access those records in order to travel internationally.
“If you look at yellow fever, for example, you can only visit some countries if you can produce a certificate to say you’ve been vaccinated for yellow fever. It’s likely that that’s going to become a pretty global standard around Covid-19.
Hipkins said the elderly and people with co-morbidities, or pre-existing medical conditions, were likely to targetted early-on in the roll-out of the mass vaccination campaign.
“There are two things that we factor in here. One, are people who are more at risk. And the other thing that we look at our settings where people are more at risk, he said.
An IATA Travel Pass, which will store Covid-19 test results and vaccine certificates. (file photo)
“For example, we know that if Covid-19 gets into an aged care facility it spreads very quickly and very easily. So that would be a setting at risk.
Hipkins said that the south Auckland community, both near the Auckland international airport and having a high proportion of people with co-morbidities, was also being considered as a setting at risk.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told RNZ the Pfizer vaccine was highly effective and 95 per cent successful at reducing symptomatic Covid-19.
It is so important that those who can be, are [vaccinated]. Because if we get to the point where we have a significant portion of the population who can be vaccinated, are vaccinated. That means that we provide immunity and protection for others.