Alan Joyce slammed over COVID vaccination rule

 

Outraged customers have vowed never again to fly with Qantas after the airline's boss said vaccinations against COVID-19 would be mandatory for all passengers on international flights.

Alan Joyce has been making global headlines this morning after he revealed once a vaccine became available, it would be a condition of travel with Qantas.

"For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,'' he said on A Current Affair last night.

"Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that's a necessity."

Mr Joyce suggested anti-vaxxers who weren't happy with that rule may struggle to find an alternative airline to fly with.

"I think that's going to be a common thing, talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe," he said.

His comments sparked an immediate wave of fury from people who objected to the policy.

"What right does Alan Joyce have to demand that we will only be allowed to travel with Qantas if we first prove we have been vaccinated against COVID-19?" someone asked on Twitter.

"My health and vaccination status is none of his concern."

Some people said while they didn't object to vaccines in theory, they had a problem with the national carrier making them mandatory.

Others expressed unease due to the speed at which a potential COVID-19 vaccine was likely to be developed and rolled out.

Drug companies Pfizer and Moderna, who both say their vaccine candidates are more than 90 per cent effective, have flagged they could become available next year.

"I'm no anti-vaxxer, but forced vaccination, especially of such a new drug, is NOT okay," one person tweeted.

"If Qantas really go ahead, we may have to seek judges' ruling."

Others congratulated Qantas for putting the "safety of passengers first".

Some people pointed out certain vaccinations were already required for international travel.

Travellers arriving in Australia from countries at risk of yellow fever, for example, could be asked by border authorities to prove they had been vaccinated against the potentially deadly disease.

The Federal Government has said a COVID-19 vaccine would not be mandatory in Australia but it could become a condition of entry or re-entry to the country.

"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," the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy says.

"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."

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it is in the final stages of developing a digital health pass that would co-ordinate information about COVID testing and vaccinations to support the reopening of international borders.

The IATA Travel Pass would "manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers", the industry body said.

"Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveller identities in compliance with border control requirements," the IATA's director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said.

IATA's senior vice president of airport, passenger, cargo and security, Nick Careen, said the main priority was to "get people travelling again safely".

"In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program," he said.

"The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both."


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