Qantas Will Require Its International Passengers to Be Vaccinated, per CEO Alan Joyce. In an interview, he said that a COVID-19 vaccine would become “a necessity” for international travel, and noted that Qantas was considering changing its terms and conditions. “We will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft.”
Currently Qantas has cut its international routes and grounded its A380s (of which we have a fond memory flying Qantas First Class), since Australia has barred all travelers except Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members from entering, and even citizens and permanent residents are quarantined in hotels or designated quarantine facilities.
While the Australian government isn't planning to make the vaccine mandatory for its citizens, the country is unlikely to open its borders until late 2021, in both directions. Foreign visitors will be unable to visit, and Australians will be unable to leave, with few exceptions. Australia has managed to keep coronavirus cases relatively low; at time of writing, it had experienced 27,835 cases and just over 900 deaths.
Joyce noted “I think [a COVID-19 vaccine is] going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe.” To date, no other major international airline has made a similar pronouncement, although David Powell, medical adviser to IATA (the International Air Transport Association) opined it was “a really strong possibility” that countries would start to demand proof of health status from travelers. IATA Iata has announced a collaboration with British Airways owner IAG to develop a health pass.
While there are several promising vaccines, including from Moderna, Pfizer, and Oxford/AstraZeneca among others, the logistics of rolling them out to sufficient numbers of people to provide herd immunity is expected to take much of 2021 for many countries.
There's also the question of how proof of vaccination will be documented to avoid potential forgery, which has been an issue in the past. Blockchain technology and QR codes could be used both in managing the supply chain, from manufacturer to end patient, and to authenticate proof of vaccination, countering fraudulent vaccination certificates.
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