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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces plans for domestic vaccine passports

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces plans for domestic vaccine passports
October 7, 2021

The New Zealand Government is to introduce vaccine passports - that will likely contain a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code - for use at major public gathering and hospitality locations.

Outlined this week by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, with more details to  be shared in the coming weeks, certificates will initially be used as a tool in high-risk settings.

With the country moving from its long-held commitment to COVID elimination to a vaccination and suppression strategy, Prime Minister Ardern, advising that vaccine passports are now common overseas, stated "please get vaccinated now, summer is close. And so to be fully vaccinated and fully protected and do the things you love, you need to be vaccinated this month, not in December".

Aiming to have the vaccine passports in place as of next month, New Zealanders COVID test results and vaccination status should be available via the My Covid Record, and after that the downloadable certificates will be accessible as of November.

People wanting to access their record will be able to access it using a My Health account or RealMe. They will be able to create an account if they do not already have one.

The record will show vaccination details including batch number, site, and which arm was used. Second vaccinations can also be booked through the system.

There will be an app available for verification, and it should be able to be used either on a mobile device, on a website or using printouts.

Large scale events are expected to make the use of the certificates mandatory, and while they may not be mandated in smaller settings those venues may consider using it themselves, the New Zealand Government is still considering its options about whether the certificates will be mandatory in some of those gatherings.

Prime Minister Ardern went on to state "that is an area where we are going to be very cautious and also learn from overseas."

Consideration is also being given as when the certificate will take effect for individuals who have been vaccinated. People are considered fully vaccinated after a second dose but they are not considered fully immunised until two weeks after they have had their second dose.

Prime Minister Ardern said clear advice would be supplied about where the certificates cannot and should not be used, but noted "the best way to guarantee your entry into a summer festival is to be vaccinated."

Vaccine passport image courtesy of Joe Cusmano.

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