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Qantas Sets Vaccination Mandate

Published September 21, 2023
8 months ago

Following the global trend for safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia's premier carrier, Qantas Airways Ltd, has laid down a vaccination mandate for its complete workforce. Pilots, cabin crew, and airport personnel are expected to be fully inoculated against COVID-19 by November 15, while remaining staff have leeway until March 31, 2022, per the company’s directive issued on Wednesday. Exemptions will be rare and only accommodating those with medical evidence of ineligibility to take the vaccine.

The decision roots in a widespread acceptance towards vaccination within Qantas, as a recent poll confirms a staggering 89% of the staff having taken or planning to get the jab. Moreover, an impressive 75% of the personnel agreed on the necessity of making vaccination a mandatory requirement. Qantas generously recognizes vaccinations as the most effective instrument to "end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures," commented CEO Alan Joyce.

To adapt to new COVID-19 constraints, Qantas has recently furloughed around 2,500 staff members without pay for an uncertain two-month period. It has also announced its intent to mandate vaccines for all international passengers, once the borders reopen.

In the domestic scenario, Qantas is deliberating over making vaccines obligatory, given the global norms demanding vaccines for entry into public places like sports events and restaurants. Although no confirmation is provided yet, other states have placed precedents—most notably Western Australia, which mandates at least one vaccine dose for travellers from high-risk regions like New South Wales.

Leading airlines, such as United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines in the USA, have initiated a similar vaccination requirement for domestic employees. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific has suggested that pilots and flight attendants not vaccinated by August 31 might face job terminations. A similar approach is being mulled by Virgin Australia.

According to Qantas, aviation personnel in New South Wales, South Australia, and New Zealand, who engage with international flights, are already mandated to be vaccinated by their respective jurisdictions.

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