August 19, 2020
Under a radical yellow passport plan, there will be a ban from shopping malls, public transport, and interstate travel for anti-vaxxers who will refuse a coronavirus jab.
An infectious disease doctor in Africa and Papua New Guinea, Dr. Zac Turner, wants Australians to be issued with yellow passports to verify that they have been immunized.
Possibly by Christmas, Australia could have a COVID-19 vaccine with the federal government signing a contract with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to manufacture it.
According to the doctor’s proposal, anybody wanting to go into a shopping mall, bus, or train without a face mask would be necessary to present this card to a security guard to confirm they have been vaccinated. Police at state borders could also decline entry to visitors who don’t have proof of a coronavirus vaccination. The yellow passport would also be compulsory for anyone wanting to access a hospital or an aged care home.
Dr. Turner, a biomedical scientist, said 80 percent of Australia’s 25 million people would need to be vaccinated to achieve crowd immunity, arguing his passport idea was more comfortable to administer.
‘It’s going to be difficult at the beginning for us to recognize who the people have an objection towards vaccination and people who are just waiting to get the vaccine,’ he explained.
‘There will be strict bans on anyone who hasn’t had the vaccine from going into places where there’s vulnerable people.’
Dr. Turner’s idea is exhibited on an existing yellow passport system for tourists who have been to nations where yellow fever is present.
The yellow passport served as proof that they were vaccinated against a mosquito-borne illness that turns the skin yellow – a jaundice situation.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has implied he would look at creating a COVID-19 vaccine ‘as mandatory as possible’ but later clarified that there were no devices to force someone to get an injection.
The government has signed an agreement to bring Oxford University’s vaccine to Australia as soon as it is official, which could be at the end of this year. Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca would be tasked with manufacturing the UK-developed vaccine in Australia.
Dr. Turner shared his experience as a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003 – he administered vaccines for mumps, measles, rubella, polio, and tetanus – and demonstrated the importance of mandating herd immunity. He also volunteered in Papua New Guinea to help build a runway to ensure medical supplies and vaccines could be delivered safely.
‘When you see viruses and infections running rampant, it makes it a lot closer to home,’ he said.
Not everyone shares the call for mandatory vaccines – even if they support a COVID-19 elimination strategy.
The head of biosecurity research at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute, Dr. Raina MacIntyre, said that Australians should choose whether to be vaccinated.
‘It should not be compulsory, depending on how effective the vaccine is, we would need 70 to 90 percent of people vaccinated for herd immunity.’ She said
While Dr. Nick Coatsworth, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer said the government was devising how to stop the non-vaccinated from catching the train or going to a restaurant
‘Looking at specific things like not being able to go into restaurants, not being able to travel internationally, not being able to catch public transport or more broadly having what in the olden days would have been a yellow fever vaccination certificate, these are policy decisions that will be discussed,’ he said.
Dr. Coatsworth said an incentive was needed to encourage vaccinations.
‘I suspect the majority of Australians will get vaccinated, and there will be a strong public view that those who choose not to get vaccinated need to, there needs to be some sort of incentive, stick perhaps to make it happen,’ he said.