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21 Oct 2021 3:00
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  •   Home > News > International

    Victoria will soon start a 'vaccinated economy' trial for double-dosed residents. Here's what we know

    The Victorian government will conduct trials in businesses and events across highly vaccinated parts of regional Victoria to help the state open progressively.


    Some Victorians will soon be able to take part in a trial that will pave the path for the state to become an open, vaccinated economy.

    The Victorian government will conduct trials in businesses and events across highly vaccinated parts of regional Victoria to help the state open progressively as a vaccinated economy when it meets the key double-dose thresholds outlined in the state government's roadmap.

    Here's what we know so far.

    The trial will begin in a fortnight

    Up to 20 vaccinated economy trials will test systems and support in the fortnight before Victoria is expected to reach the key 70 per cent full vaccination mark, on October 26, triggering greater freedoms for vaccinated people.

    Scheduled to start from October 11, it is anticipated the trials will cover hospitality, hairdressing, beauty services and tourism businesses, and events such as race meetings, community celebrations and concerts — allowing higher patron numbers with all attendees confirmed as being fully vaccinated.

    The trial will be held in regional areas with high vaccination rates

    The regional areas of Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, Pyrenees, Warrnambool, Buloke and East Gippsland municipalities will be the first invited to participate in the trials.

    Announcing the measures, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said these areas had high vaccination rates and low COVID-19 case numbers.

    "Buloke, which is around Wycheproof, they have a double-dose rate of 63 per cent and a single-dose rate of 88 per cent. So very high vaccinations numbers," he said.

    "In the Pyrenees, which is around Beaufort and Avoca, they have a 64 per cent double-dose rate and a 90 per cent single-dose rate.

    "So extremely high vaccination rates in those municipalities and it marks them out as being perfect for these trials."

    The government says it will work with local councils and industry bodies to help identify suitable businesses and events.

    Workers will have to enforce the rules

    The government says training for staff, support for business owners and public communication of vaccine requirements will also be part of the trials.

    Support officers will be deployed on the ground to ensure trials run smoothly and participating businesses receive the assistance they need.

    In the past, Victorian businesses have struggled to police those not adhering to COVID-safe rules, including wearing masks and QR code check-ins.

    Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was "critically important" that businesses appointed a suitably qualified person, who had been trained in how the system worked, to oversee the trials.

    He said COVID-safety was not the most junior member's job and the government would provide support to ensure a smooth run.

    "It is in everybody's interests, particularly business, to take this seriously," he said.

    "These trials are about proving up, and in real terms, seeing where some of these issues might be.

    "If we were completely certain that it would all be totally smooth, then we wouldn't do the trials."

    Authorities are still ironing out how to prove vaccination status

    In Australia, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can access a digital certificate through the MyGov website, which lists their name, age and what type of vaccination they have received.

    But there have been reports of a growing market of forged COVID-19 vaccination certificates on social media to avoid getting the jab entirely.

    In August, South Australian senator Rex Patrick made a fake COVID-19 "proof of vaccination" certificates to prove how easily it could be forged by anti-vaxxers.

    Mr Pakula said they would be looking at how best to establish someone's vaccination status as part of 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.

    The Minister for Government Services Danny Pearson said they were working with the Commonwealth government to make sure the technology and systems that would underpin the vaccinated economy was effective and easy to use.

    "The Service Victoria app will be the most convenient way for most people to prove their vaccination status and participate fully in the community," he said.

    The trial will give a glimpse of life in Victoria once lockdowns end

    Last week, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews laid out a detailed roadmap on how his government planned to ease restrictions in Melbourne.

    Double-dosed Victorians will have greater freedoms, including being able to go to restaurants, hairdressers and beauty services, weddings, indoor swimming pools, sauna and steam rooms.

    Mr Pakula said they needed people to get vaccinated so they could attend events and venues safely and ensure they didn't catch or pass the virus on to others.

    "This is a really important step on the path of us becoming an open, vaccinated economy," Mr Pakula said.

    "We need these trials to ensure that we understand all of the potential issues that might arise."

    If the first phase is successful, the government will trial the 80 per cent double-dose settings — which includes higher density quotients — before Victoria actually achieves that milestone.

    The progress of these trials will be subject to health advice and ensuring the safety of regional communities from any potential COVID-19 infections.

    These trials will be used to hold larger events in metropolitan Melbourne to test the systems and technologies with larger crowd sizes.

    Businesses are encouraged to put their hands up to be part of the trial

    Mr Pakula said those businesses or events that wanted to participate in the trials were encouraged to get in touch with their peak 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 be talking to those peak bodies to help us select the venues that will participate in the trial."

    Businesses in Melbourne have also been calling for the vaccine passport system, with the City of Melbourne recently pushing for the government to include them in the trial.

    Mr Pakula said as the state continued to cross its vaccine milestones, they would be looking at a range of other settings and locations to test.

    "That may be trials running in Metropolitan Melbourne, it may well be trials in larger, more significant events," he said.

    "We will have more to say about that once we have done this first phase of trials."

    [Click through to send us your questions about COVID-19]

    ABC




    © 2021 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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