Victoria will soon begin a “vaccine economy” trial for double-dose residents. This is what we know
Some Victorians will soon be able to participate in a trial that will pave the way for the state to become an open and vaccinated economy.
The Victorian government will conduct trials at businesses and events in highly vaccinated parts of the Victoria area to help the state gradually open up as a vaccinated economy when it hits the key double-dose thresholds outlined in the state government roadmap.
Here’s what we know so far.
The trial will start in two weeks
Up to 20 vaccine economy trials will test systems and support in the fortnight before Victoria hits the 70% full immunization mark on October 26, triggering greater freedom for those vaccinated.
Scheduled to start from October 11, it is expected that the trials will cover hospitality, hairdressing, beauty services and tourism businesses, as well as events such as race meetings, community celebrations and concerts – allowing a higher number of clients with all participants confirmed to be fully immunized.
The trial will take place in regional areas with high vaccination rates
The regional areas of Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, Pyrenees, Warrnambool, Buloke and the municipalities of East Gippsland will be the first to be invited to participate in the trials.
Announcing the measures, Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said these areas had high vaccination rates and a low number of COVID-19 cases.
“Buloke, which is around Wycheproof, has a double dose rate of 63 percent and a single dose rate of 88 percent. So a very high number of vaccinations,” he said.
“In the Pyrenees, which are around Beaufort and Avoca, they have a double dose rate of 64% and a single dose rate of 90%.
The government said it would work with local councils and industry organizations to help identify suitable businesses and events.
Workers will have to enforce the rules
The government says staff training, support for business owners and public communication of vaccine needs will also be part of the trials.
Support agents will be deployed to the field to ensure the trials run smoothly and participating companies receive the help they need.
In the past, Victorian businesses have struggled to control those who violate COVID safety regulations, including wearing masks and QR code check-ins.
Victorian-era Premier Daniel Andrews said it was “extremely important” for companies to appoint a sufficiently qualified person, who had been trained in the operation of the system, to oversee the testing.
He said COVID security was not the job of the most junior member and that the government would provide support to keep it running smoothly.
“It is in everyone’s interest, especially businesses, to take this seriously,” he said.
“If we were completely sure that everything would go perfectly, then we wouldn’t be testing.”
Authorities are still trying to prove vaccine status
In Australia, people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can access a digital certificate through the MyGov website, which shows their name, age and the type of vaccination they have received.
But there have been reports of a growing market for fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates on social media to avoid getting the vaccine completely.
In August, South Australian Senator Rex Patrick fabricated a fake COVID-19 “proof of vaccination” certificate to prove how easily it could be tampered with by anti-vaccines.
Mr Pakula said they would consider how best to establish a person’s vaccination status in these trials.
He said proof of vaccination could include Medicare Online, the Express Plus Medicare app or hard copies of vaccination certificates obtained through Services Australia.
Government Services Minister Danny Pearson said they were working with the Commonwealth government to ensure the technology and systems that would support the vaccinated economy were efficient and easy to use.
“The Service Victoria app will be the most convenient way for most people to prove their immunization status and fully participate in the community,” he said.
Trial will give insight into life in Victoria after lockdowns are over
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews last week presented a detailed roadmap on how his government plans to ease restrictions in Melbourne.
Double-dose Victorians will have more freedoms, including the ability to go to restaurants, barber shops and beauty services, weddings, indoor pools, saunas and steam rooms.
Mr Pakula said they need people to get vaccinated so they can attend events and venues safely and make sure they don’t catch or spread the virus to others.
“This is a really important step on the road to our transformation into an open and vaccinated economy,” said Mr. Pakula.
“We need these tests to make sure we understand any potential issues that may arise.”
If the first phase is successful, the government will test the 80% double dose parameters – which include higher density quotients – before Victoria actually reaches that milestone.
The progress of these trials will be subject to health advice and will ensure the safety of regional communities against any potential infection with COVID-19.
These trials will be used to organize larger events in the Melbourne metropolis to test systems and technologies with larger crowds.
Businesses encouraged to raise their hands to participate in the trial
Mr Pakula said companies or events wishing to participate in the trials are encouraged to get in touch with their advanced body.
“So if you are a pub you might want to contact the Australian Hotels Association. If you are a restaurant, the Restaurant and Caterers Association, the Hair and Beauty Industry Association, etc,” he said.
“We will speak with these leading bodies to help us select the sites that will participate in the trial.”
Melbourne companies have also applied for the vaccine passport system, with the city of Melbourne recently pushing for the government to include them in the trial.
Mr Pakula said that as the state continues to meet vaccine milestones, it will look at a range of other settings and locations to test.
“It may be trials underway in the Melbourne metropolitan area, it could well be trials in bigger and bigger events,” he said.
“We will have more to say about this once we have completed this first phase of testing.”
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