Qantas airlines to make COVID-19 vaccination necessary to board an international flight
As more news about the COVID-19 vaccine continues to come to light, one major Australian airline has stated that they will require proof of immunization if anyone wants to travel internationally with them and current speculation is that more airlines will follow suit.
Calling it a “necessity,” Alan Joyce, the head of Qantas airlines, told Australian news show A Current Affair that any international visitors who want to head to Australia must show proof that they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19. Also, any Australians who want to fly out of the country will need the vaccine as well, though Joyce says they are still discussing whether or not they would make this regulation mandatory for domestic travel within Australia as well.
“Certainly for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity,” he said.
Considering the fact that Australia has basically eradicated COVID-19 due to strict containment measures and a citizenry that was willing to do their part to stay safe, it makes sense that the largest Australian airline would require vaccines to arrive in the country. They should absolutely not let Americans (or any other countries that can’t control COVID-19) into a place that actually did what needed to be done to control the virus.
Many are celebrating this news and Joyce predicts many other airlines will follow suit. “I’ve talked to my colleagues at other airlines across the globe, and I think it’s going to be a common theme across the board,” he stated.
Relatedly, International Air Transport Association recently said that it was finalizing a “digital health pass” that will “manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travelers” making it easier (and safer) to travel.
Also, vaccines have long been required for travel to certain destinations. If you’re going to certain parts of Africa and South America, you need to show proof of vaccination for yellow fever, so this news shouldn’t come as much of a shock.
As for the vaccine race itself, there are three COVID-19 vaccines with positive trial test results and officials at Operation Warp Speed say that the first round of Americans (likely healthcare workers) can start getting the vaccine as early as December 11, 2020. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, said that for life to return to “normal,” 70 percent of the population will need to be immunized, which he estimates could happen by May, if people are willing to get the shot.
Of course, the “freedumb” crowds are all over Twitter up in arms about the new airline policy as if they have a right to international travel. To them I say, you’re free to get sick and not go anywhere. To everyone else, it’s good to know which airlines are actually taking COVID seriously.