ZB

Revealed: The new system replacing vaccine passes

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 May 2022, 7:41am
The Government is expected to update advice about vaccine passes today. (Photo / Brett Phibbs)
The Government is expected to update advice about vaccine passes today. (Photo / Brett Phibbs)

Revealed: The new system replacing vaccine passes

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 May 2022, 7:41am

Two new voluntary systems will be rolled out as the existing vaccine pass system fades away.

By June 1, a new vaccine pass system will be unveiled and it will take into account booster doses.

Meanwhile, a new online personal vaccine journal will be established where people will likely be able to access flu, MMR and possibly other vaccine histories.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins revealed details of the new systems to the Herald.

Currently, My Vaccine Pass, My Vaccine Record, and international travel vaccination certificates can be used as proof of vaccination status.

The new vaccine pass system should be ready by the start of next month for people who still want to use vaccine-checking tools.

"People want to have a way to verify their vaccination status for a variety of reasons," Hipkins said. "Certainly, vaccination is a big issue in the disability community."

Hipkins said the new system could be useful for people who might want to verify vaccination status to a potential employer. "They're not going to be used in the foreseeable future in the way that they were previously, for hospitality and all those sorts of things."

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says a new voluntary, booster-savvy vaccine pass will be rolled out, as will a broader self-service vaccine history tool. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says a new voluntary, booster-savvy vaccine pass will be rolled out, as will a broader self-service vaccine history tool. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The new vaccine pass-type system will have to take into account whether people were eligible for three or four doses.

Hipkins said there were no plans to extend the vaccine passes to diseases other than Covid-19.

The new system's expiry date was still to be decided.

All existing My Vaccine Passes expire six months from issue, or on June 1.

Anyone with a vaccine pass expiring before June 1 and wanting an extension will be able to request another one which will run to the end of June.

Hipkins said he expected there wouldn't be many people in this group.

And Hipkins said the Government was also working on a self-service system where people could access flu, MMR, and other vaccine histories.

That new system should be available as more New Zealanders started planning overseas travel.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck says people in hospitality seem happier since vaccine passes stopped being mandatory. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck says people in hospitality seem happier since vaccine passes stopped being mandatory. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Some countries require multiple vaccinations. Hipkins said the second new system would be useful for people who wanted to quickly access vaccine histories.

"Up until now they've typically had to ring their GP practice to find out."

Tetanus might be included in the self-service model but that had not been decided yet.

Hipkins said he'd ask about what steps could be taken for people who wanted their data on the existing vaccine pass system to be removed.

"The Privacy Act continues to apply to all this information," he said. "People will have control of their own data."

Vaccine pass mandates were ditched four weeks ago but businesses could still choose to use the system if they wanted to.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said people in the hospitality sector seemed happy to not require vaccine passes anymore.

Beck, an Auckland mayoral candidate, said she wasn't aware of any businesses still demanding vaccine passes from customers.

Some restaurant owners previously said staff were having to act as enforcers policing the pass system.

During the mandatory era, Albert St restaurateur Kiwoon Keum said the store could not offer dine-in as he did not have the staffing to be checking vaccine passports.

"Things seemed to have settled down once the mandates were taken away," Beck said.

She said the focus now was on personal responsibility. Under the current orange traffic light setting, restaurant staff were still wearing masks.

Last Friday was the busiest of the year for foot traffic in Auckland CBD, Beck said.

Some CBD businesses were facing staff shortages due to factors including Covid-19 isolation requirements but mostly the mood was upbeat, she added.

Meanwhile, 6636 new community cases of Covid-19 were reported yesterday and the Ministry of Health reported a further seven Covid-related deaths.

There were 480 people in hospital with the virus, including 12 in intensive care.

A second person who travelled from overseas was confirmed as having the BA.4 variant of Omicron.

Professor Michael Baker, from the University of Otago, said early indications were BA.4 had reasonable fitness and could be able to outcompete other sub-variants.