Pfizer (multi-national private pharmaceutical group), last Monday, revealed that their COVID19 vaccination in development has an effectiveness rate of well over 90%. This became a welcome surprise for many worldwide analysts and sceptics who were convinced that a COVID19 vaccine wouldn’t garner effectiveness of higher than 70%. None the less, the announcement was celebrated as a success with hundreds of millions of vaccine doses estimated to be ready to be made available to the public in America by April of 2021.
Back in Australia though, the Federal Government’s new National Vaccine Policy may require visitors to Australia to show proof of vaccination prior to entering our borders. The idea of vaccination certificates was floated earlier in the COVID19 pandemic to allow for international and domestic travel but was eventually dismissed domestically by the vast majority of state leaders.
“The Australian Government and other governments may introduce border entry or re-entry requirements that are conditional on proof of vaccination.” Health Minister, Greg Hunt, stated last week at a press conference announcing the vaccine success.
Hunt did, however, clarify that the absence of a vaccine certificate would not bar everyone entry to Australia, it would simply mean that they’re required to adhere to the same quarantine requirements that have been in place since April of 2020. Scott Morrison also stressed that a mandatory COVID vaccination would not be happening and was not part of the Government’s future policy.
What was apparent post-announcement though was that Australia was not the only country considering the changes, with America considered to follow suit. Other countries such as the United Arab Emirates have already claimed that they will require either a negative COVID19 test within a time period of the visit or proof of vaccination at an approved clinic. These countries have had said policies in place for multiple months already.
Scott Morrison while also commenting on the Pfizer vaccine availability claimed that while Australia had only secured 10 million doses of the vaccine (considered to be the frontrunner of the pack right now) for emergency services workers, there was nothing in the law that stopped Pfizer privatising the sale of the vaccine as well. In some cases, private health insurance would theoretically cover the cost of a vaccine if Pfizer was to decide to offer doses privately in Australia. Much alike to Malaria vaccinations that in the past have been offered to travellers where the disease is prevalent.
Whatever the case, the announcement is allowing many US tourism and travel operators make solid plans to return to business as normal. On Tuesday’s Wall Street trading session tourism and travel stocks reacted to this with companies such as Hawaiian Holdings experiencing the biggest one-day gains on the markets but other companies such as the Hyatt Group and Expedia benefiting from the news.