When the My Vaccine Pass was released a few weeks ago it was inspiring to hear how libraries had responded so quickly to help their communities get access to their passes – after all, how many people have the digital confidence to:
(1) Have a unique email address (not one shared with a partner);
(2) Set up a My Health account;
(3) Access emails on their smartphones;
(4) Add their Vaccine Pass to Apple Wallet or Google Pay;
(5) Own a printer and laminator to print a copy.
For our part, Sue Kini pulled out the stops and produced a new Stepping UP module for My Health & My Vaccine Pass.
It was quickly evident that the Government’s backup plan to use the special 0800 number for people without digital access to request a Vaccine Pass was not going to work, with 70,000 requests backlogged. I was so disappointed with the negative stories emerging that I sent a letter to the editor of the Dominion Post on 26 November pointing out how public libraries (as the biggest ‘helpdesk’ in the country) could help.
And then the bombshell on 2 December to learn that some Councils had ruled that only people who could show their Vaccine Passes were permitted access to their libraries and other public facilities. A sort of catch-22; how could libraries help people get their passes if they had to have one to enter? Well done Clutha District Council, Waitaki District Council, Timaru District Council, Waimate District Council, Marlborough District Council, Upper Hutt City Council, South Taranaki District Council and Whanganui District Council, to name just a few who ruled in favour of remaining open to everyone, so that people could get the help they needed to get their passes.
But we still have a lot of work to do; at the time the new traffic light system came into effect on 3 December over 800,000 people who were fully vaccinated had not downloaded their Vaccine Passes.
We strongly encourage all our Stepping UP partners to provide ongoing support to help everyone in their communities get access to their Vaccine Pass and be able to enjoy the new freedoms that come with the Covid traffic light system.