Sunday, November 28

Vaccine passports are ‘effective’ for fans at events, but gyms are concerned about staff abuse

The government plans to have technology for Covid-19 vaccine passports available in just over a month, which could be needed for live events, venues, and other services.

Person vaccinated using a certificate of vaccination or digital immunization on a smartphone on the terrace of a restaurant.

A passport certificate application is in development and is likely to be available in November, the government says.
Photo: 123rf

It will take the form of a smartphone application that the Ministry of Health is developing together with companies.

Vaccine passports are already in use abroad. In New York, people must now provide proof of vaccination before attending Broadway shows.

A similar scheme would be welcomed by New Zealand’s events industry, which has been crippled by the closures.

Live Nation New Zealand Managing Director Mark Kneebone said that for the past 18 months they have been practicing the Covid-19 protocols of hand hygiene, social distancing and mask use, but the future will be proof of vaccination.

“It is proving to be an effective way for fans to safely attend major events abroad and we look forward to seeing something like this here in New Zealand.”

Kneebone is confident that they could implement vaccine passports if the government mandated them.

“It just has to be as simple as checking a concert ticket. If we can do that right, and that’s the point where we’d really like to comment, on how to make sure it’s straightforward for people and businesses to check these things. So I think we can make it work. “

Overseas there have been reports of anti-vaccines abusing hospitality staff and people who cannot prove their vaccination status.

Although he is concerned about that happening here, Kneebone said keeping people safe from Covid-19 should be the priority.

“I think every business will deal with that. Every time I read the newspaper, there is a poor hostess in New York who is being abused by someone … We can’t do anything but keep our people safe and that’s what about.

“And when I say ‘people’, I mean our fans, our team, our talent, the people on stage, the guy who sells the hot dogs, everyone. It is so important that our way of caring for the family in general and that is our main objective. “

In addition to hospitality and events, being fully vaccinated to access gyms could be on the cards, too.

This is already the case in Israel, Italy and some Canadian provinces.

In New Zealand, people in gyms must wear a mask, except when exercising, and staff and clients must adhere to social distancing protocols.

New Zealand Exercise Association Executive Director Richard Beddie said vaccine passports could put companies in difficult positions.

“Right now it’s possibly the most divisive thing in New Zealand. Although most New Zealanders are okay with vaccinations, it’s very clear if anyone is going out publicly right now and saying, ‘I think you should get vaccinated’ to get hate speech. And that’s really dangerous, especially for front-line staff who aren’t there to be abused and we know that will happen.

“We believe that the government should take a position on this.”

The association had conducted legal surveys on the issue.

“We think at this point it probably can’t be done. Most of the attorneys we’ve spoken to say ‘We believe that while health and safety are a factor, there are many other laws that apply as well.’ You have the Law. Privacy Policy, we have the Human Rights Act and we have the Bill of Rights, all of which would probably say you can’t do it, and I’m saying probably because no one has really tried it yet. “

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said For the first time the government is still deciding how the vaccine certificates will be used.

“There are many considerations, both in terms of the practicalities of its use, as well as around human rights and how it would actually work,” Robertson said.

Event organizers and others had indicated that they were interested in the idea.

“It would certainly give people a lot more comfort and safety if events can be held with vaccinated people – we’ve seen it all over the world, so we’re currently talking about that with sectors like the events industry to see how. It might work. And we’ll have announcements to make once we’ve had those conversations and made the decisions. “

University of Auckland philosophy professor Tim Dare said that while he supports mandatory Covid-19 vaccines, the idea of ​​a vaccine passport will pose accessibility issues for those who cannot get vaccinated, thus unable to get a passport.

“We need to think carefully about the support we provide to people who are not vaccinated.

“You need to make sure that the person who cannot get vaccinated for good reasons can get on with life as completely as possible.”

He said the vaccination passports will certainly act as an incentive for people to get vaccinated, but he wonders why we don’t make the vaccine mandatory.

“I don’t see why we don’t have the discussion about whether we should make Covid vaccination mandatory, because we are getting the same result, but through a back door and pretending that we are being more accommodating and non-authoritarian while we do it.

“I approve of the result, but I am a little concerned about the unevenness of the strategy.”

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