KOMPAS.com - Almost two years after the government closed Australia to the world, the international border is set to reopen to those who are fully vaccinated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after new medical advice, the new border rules would come into place on February 21.
“The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia,” he said. “That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it.”
The news will be welcomed by tourism bodies, which have been crying out for movement on the border closure that has hampered some businesses.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said unvaccinated travelers would still need to apply for a travel exemption to come to Australia and have to undergo hotel quarantine if they were granted permission to enter the country.
Morrison said the government’s definition was that people need to have a full course of a vaccine, which in most cases is two doses but for some international vaccines is only one, to be considered vaccinated.
For example, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine — which is approved for use in Australia — involves only one dose.
The expert panel on vaccines, ATAGI, has flagged though that it is considering whether to still use the term “fully vaccinated” or instead move to “up to date with vaccinations” like is used with childhood vaccines.
If the definition is changed, it could mean that booster shots are included when considering if someone is “up to date” or not.