Are Immunity Passports Soon To Be A Thing?

Australia needs to get those who can’t be infected moving again. Should they be following the lead of Britain in their discussion of introducing ‘immunity passports’?

Countries including Britain and Germany are talking about the idea of “immunity passports” to increase the workforce in frontline workers and other crucial services.

The passports would act as a certificate for those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have been declared immune to the virus.

Professor Nigel McMillan is the director of infectious diseases and immunology at the Menzies Health Institute. According to the ABC, McMillan stated, “We’ve got good data that you can’t be re-infected with the virus.”

Professor Nigel McMillan

Almost a quarter of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic, meaning thousands of Australians could already have immunity and be completely unaware of it.

Professor Nigel McMillan told the ABC that, “Australians with immunity could generally resume normal life.” He believes the passports could be a very useful resource.

It would be very individualised for each person as to what they could do, but the most useful group is medical workers. We know from overseas that a significant portion of health workers may become infected at some point, so we could use that to our advantage

McMillian predicts that a vaccine is likely to be at least 12 months away and with the certificate, Australian health workers with immunity could be prioritised to work in intensive care units and higher-risk scenarios.

Immune teachers could mean schools can be kept open. Other immune employees, such as public transport operators, could return to their essential jobs.

Allowing the employed to return to work and getting the economy moving again may take a long time, but this idea could potentially speed things up.

According to the ABC, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Friday labelled the passports a “really smart idea”, saying his government was actively looking at distributing them, possibly in the form of a wristband.

A test can be done using a prick of blood from the finger. The antibody test can determine if someone who was asymptomatic was infected by coronavirus and had since developed immunity.

Australia purchased 1.5 million of the antibody testing kits last week.