Coronavirus: Tourists may have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination when borders open - Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins says tourists may need to show proof they have received a COVID-19 vaccine when the borders reopen.

It comes after the Government purchased an additional 8.5 million Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, bringing the total to 10 million - enough to vaccinate every New Zealander. 

The Government's original agreement with Pfizer was for approximately 1.5 million doses, enough to vaccinate 750,000 people. It also ordered 5 million from Janssen, 3.8 million from AstraZeneca and 5.36 million from Novavax. 

The additional 8.5 million doses of Pfizer means every New Zealander will be able to get two doses of the same vaccine, avoiding multiple vaccine protocols.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told the AM Show while no decisions have been made yet, it is very likely travellers will be required to show proof of vaccination before entering the country. 

But Hipkins said the same rules won't apply to New Zealand citizens. 

"Ultimately we would still have to allow for citizens who hadn't been vaccinated to come back into the country, so we would still be looking to put them into managed isolation, so those decisions are a bit further down the track." 

"But it may well be that for others, for visitors, coming in it [proof of vaccination] does become a requirement. Now that decision has not yet been taken but there is a certain inevitability about it." 

Hipkins said part of the vaccine approach will be keeping records of who has been vaccinated so Kiwis can access their proof of vaccination easily. 

"We will be keeping a record of everyone who has been vaccinated and it's likely that at some future point people will need to access those records to travel internationally."

"If you look at yellow fever, for example, you can only visit some countries if you have a certificate to say you have been vaccinated for yellow fever.

"It's likely that is going to become a pretty global standard around COVID-19 so we need to make sure people can access their records and produce that proof that they have been vaccinated and with what vaccine." 

New Zealand isn't the only place considering vaccine passports. This week The European Union announced plans to introduce them.