Heads Up: Here’s Why Our International Vaccine Passports Might Need to Change

If you’re planning on skedaddling away from your family, lovers, or responsibilities to go on a European adventure, you might just run into some border issues. This is because, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, some of these areas don’t accept Australia’s COVID-19 Digital Certificates.

These places accept QR codes from EU Digital COVID Certificates but they aren’t flexible when it comes to other types of vaccine accrediting systems. This could mean ending up being stuck in an airport trying to explain your situation to an indifferent border control officer. At the very worst, it could result in a flight home, although no reports of this have so far surfaced.

Fortunately, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents’ Dean Long is peeved on your behalf. He said, “MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club all have internationally recognised payment systems and it doesn’t matter where you are, they all work the same.” Long then went on to state, “We need governments to get something like that around the world.”

Moreover, this isn’t the only problem that currently faces folks travelling into Europe. Biometric and identity expert Dr. Ted Dunstone explained, “If you land in many countries, you need to download the local app in order to be able to verify your vaccination status, and that’s not really sustainable from a longer-term perspective.”

Dunstone also said, “If people are going to be able to use these systems then they need to be able to know that they can land in the country and have their current app be compatible with whatever is used locally.”

It’s worth remembering that this lack of standardisation is impacting real people. Take for instance, The Latch’s very own five-star bloke Jack Revell, who’s currently working from Europe. “It’s actually been a bit tricky,” noted Revell. “Nothing major, but they definitely didn’t know what my international vaccine certificate was in Barcelona. Luckily, I’d come from the UK and not direct from Aus as this seemed to change things.”

“I’m pretty sure they only let me in because they had a big queue and didn’t want to deal with the hassle but I’m not sure what would have happened if they decided to play it more by the book.”

So, what is the Australian government doing about this snafu? Well, fortunately not nothing! Health Minister Mark Butler will be discussing this issue at the G20 in Indonesia. A press release of his stated, “Ministers will consider ways to reduce the impediments for travellers as they cross borders. A pilot project will test ways for countries to recognise the vaccine certificates used by different countries, helping to get trade and travel back to normal.”

Whether this scheme will result in us getting new vaccine passports or not is yet to be announced. Either way, hopefully this test programme will swiftly transform into a real programme. And a competent one at that. But the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly. We’ll let you know if any more info on this topic drops. 

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