The Qantas Group takes the view that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will be the key to restarting international travel with most of the rest of the world if we’re to avoid undoing the progress Australia has made in controlling this virus.
The only current alternative to this would seem to be an ongoing need for 14 days of quarantine – which puts huge limits on freedom of movement and is something our customers tell us they don’t want.
In principle, the Australian Government’s position is this:
While the Australian Government strongly supports immunisation and will run a strong campaign to encourage vaccination, it is not mandatory and individuals may choose not to vaccinate. There may however, be circumstances where the Australian Government and other governments may introduce border entry or re-entry requirements that are conditional on proof of vaccination.
It’s likely that other countries – and possibly airlines – will require vaccination against COVID-19 before allowing entry. This already happens with Yellow Fever and Polio in some parts of the world.
Some people cannot be vaccinated due to pre-existing medical conditions, so there would need to be an alternative for those people (which could be heightened testing, mask wearing and/or quarantine).
There is no suggestion that a vaccine would be required for domestic travel and probably not for countries with which Australia might form a ‘travel bubble’ (e.g. New Zealand).
The Qantas Group acknowledges some people have concerns regarding vaccines. However, we believe we have a duty of care to everyone on board our aircraft to create a safe environment. All our policies are ultimately shaped by this.
We don’t intend to formalise the detail of our vaccine requirement (including how long it might apply for) until a safe and effective one is well-established; and only then once international travel from Australia is ready to restart in earnest, which we are estimating will be between the middle-to-end of 2021.