Vaccine pass rollout leaving some people behind

Source: 1News

There's concern the vaccine pass rollout could be leaving some people behind and unable to do everyday things despite a massive boost in resources for the programme.

Retiree Kay Johnston has been struggling to download her vaccine pass.

The 83-year-old, who is self-described as computer illiterate, got her friend to help with the process but it still proved challenging.

“We went right through on the computer, we filled in the questions... It would not accept that validation number,” she said.

Her fellow retiree, 86-year-old Alister Leckie, also had difficulties.

“It is not an easy process at all. It's probably designed by a very young person who is really computer savvy and has no idea what it's like to front up to a computer and really not know what you're doing.”

From 11.59pm next Thursday the country will move into the traffic light system, which will require the use of vaccine passports at many different places.

To get the pass you must go online, have a unique email - not one shared with a family member or partner - and some form of identification.

Luis Leh, who works at Diana Isaac Retirement Village, says many residents don’t have emails or ID.

“Drivers licence might have expired, passport not valid at the moment so it’s not easy.”

Māori also face barriers. Otago University research fellow Dr Karaitiana Taiunui says Māori are statistically more likely to not have an internet connection.

There's concerns the rollout of the vaccine pass is leaving some people behind.

“The other issue is rural Māori often don’t have cell phones or cell phone coverage and the fact that many Māori families share a cell phone and share an email address,” he said.

The Ministry of Health says its call centres have seen unprecedented demand so operating hours have been extended. The phone line for those wanting to request a vaccine pass will operate from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

For those without email addresses, the vaccine pass can now be posted to them. The Ministry says around 400 pharmacies will soon accept face to face requests for a vaccine pass.

People can find a list of the pharmacies on the Healthpoint website.