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Home > AUSTRALIA > Vaccination passes are being considered around the world, but ACT is unlikely to ease COVID-19 double-dose restrictions on Canberrans

Vaccination passes are being considered around the world, but ACT is unlikely to ease COVID-19 double-dose restrictions on Canberrans

Vaccination passes are being considered around the world, but ACT is unlikely to ease COVID-19 double-dose restrictions on Canberrans

A ritual has been normalized across parts of continental Europe.

When you walk into a restaurant or a movie theater or board a train, you first show a QR code, either on your phone or printed on a card.

There are three ways to get that code: Vaccinated against COVID-19; has recovered from the disease or has recently tested negative for it.

Some venues are easy: they will allow people to enter if they first take a quick antigen test – at that person’s expense. Most will simply prevent access.

This is how many countries, including France and Germany, are trying to balance open economies with disease control.

Australia’s two largest states – New South Wales and Victoria – are now collaborating on a phone app to put a similar system into practice within a few weeks.

The federal government backs the approach, as do companies if it wants to allow states to open up faster and stay open.

Andrew Barr is not convinced that the Canberrans need incentives to get vaccinated.(

ABC News: Ian Cutmore


However, ACT Prime Minister Andrew Barr has warned against discriminating against unvaccinated Australians.

In today’s national cabinet meeting, he will once again express concern about this policy, which seems to be a fact in neighboring NSW.

Sir. Barr says there are several important arguments against separating jabbed from unjabbed that a community like ACT should consider.

A heavily vaccinated Canberra may not need to discriminate

Over the past week, NSW and Victorian governments unveiled some of the additional rights that vaccinated residents would soon enjoy, starting with the freedom to rally in slightly larger numbers.

But Barr said his government did not need to encourage vaccination as the Canberrans were less reluctant to get the shots than other Australians.

“The argument for that is that it would increase vaccination rates. We have no problem in ACT with our vaccination rates — they are national leaders in all age groups.

“The only thing holding this community back from being vaccinated to 95 percent is available vaccine supply.”

The prime minister said his government did not need to use QR codes or vaccine passports as an incentive, but acknowledged “this could be a problem in some other jurisdictions”.

How would bans be enforced and for how long?

When the EU legislated a distinction between vaccinated and non-vaccinated citizens, it decided that the law should last one year. It is expected to expire in July 2022.

In Australia, there has been little discussion about how long vaccination discrimination would be necessary.

Victoria is making COVID-19 shots mandatory for construction workers, without a specified end date.

NSW will soon end the lockdown for vaccinated people, but retains restrictions for those who have not yet received two injections. Currently, this is part of a plan to push against 80 percent of the vaccinated adults.

But Mr Barr said it was a waste to set up such policies – and an entire compliance force for police – if they only lasted a week or so.

“For the sake of a five or ten day difference – between 70 and 90 percent [vaccinated] – why would you do that? It just seems crazy, ”he said.

Still, he said the alternative – which makes discrimination a permanent part of Australian life – invited many questions.

Would the vaccination passport be extended to other infections such as influenza, measles, rubella and pertussis?

Two ACT police officers hand out face masks in the Canberra CBD.  Both smile
Sir. Barr says the cost of enforcing vaccination segregation policies can be high.(



And who would enforce the new rules?

“Is this the kind of Australia we want to live in?”

There are different views on the ethics of discrimination

Some of the debate about excluding people who choose not to be vaccinated overlooks the fact that these approaches are not new.

Professor Justine Nolan, head of the Australian Human Rights Institute at the University of NSW, points to many years of practice in geriatric care, childcare, mining and quarantine, where flu and other vaccinations are required.

A moderating policy, she says, would be to ensure that people have the opportunity to be vaccinated before they lose any liberties.

She also does not say that vaccine passports illegally violate human rights – the federal biosafety law allows, among other things, legislation broad actions in emergencies.

A woman holding a smartphone with the vaccine certificate
There are few legal barriers to discriminating against anti-vaxxers.(

Delivered to: Services Australia


The Australian Commission on Human Rights points out that there is no specific law preventing employers from hiring only vaccinated staff. Similarly, companies can deny goods and services to unvaccinated customers – as long as these actions are “reasonable”.

Professor Nolan warned, however, that governments should try to minimize their intrusion into people.

Sir. Barr said he would not deny access to services and is generally hated to make a distinction between Canberrans.

“We are not going to … exclude people who, for various reasons – some for medical reasons, others because they had not even had the opportunity to be vaccinated – we just do not go that route,” he said.

Debate on vaccination passes is far from over

Despite the widespread embrace of vaccination-based restrictions in Europe, similar plans have fallen apart elsewhere.

The UK was ready to introduce vaccine passports at the end of this month to allow veterinarians to enter bars and concerts.

However, the British government dropped the plan this week after it was criticized by some industry groups and parliamentarians.

Protesters hold signs saying 'no forced vaccines' and 'stop medical tyranny' while waving the US flag
Protesters in Texas, USA, gather outside a hospital banning non-vaccinated staff.

The concept has also divided the often broken United States, largely along political lines.

Last month, seven U.S. states had introduced digital vaccination certification schemes, while 22 states had banned them.

We do not yet know how Australians will react to a formalized social divide.

On the one hand, for the past 18 months, people in this country have accepted COVID-19 restrictions that far exceeded those in many other parts of the world.

Still, there seems to be a significant minority of Australians who are likely to refuse the vaccine.

Ironically, these unvaccinated Australians may find that their freedoms are best protected in the ACT, which has absorbed the vaccine faster than elsewhere in the country.


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