Qantas Plans To Require COVID Vaccine


As the world waits for an effective COVID-19 vaccine, Qantas announced this week that it intends to require proof of vaccination for international travelers once the vaccine becomes widely available. “Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with COVID-19 in the market. But certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity,” Qantas CEO Allan Joyce said. Expecting that a widely available, effective vaccination will change travel requirements globally, Joyce added, “I think it will be a common theme, talking to my colleagues in other airlines across the world.”

Airlines have struggled to bring travelers back into the air while there is widespread concern about contracting the disease in the airport or the aircraft itself, and travel destinations have further complicated matters with mandatory quarantine periods for incoming travelers.

Hawaii was hard hit early in the pandemic, pushing Hawaiian Airlines to partner with local labs that would provide COVID-19 tests; passengers who tested negative within 72 hours of the flight were not required to quarantine once arriving in Hawaii. This week, Hawaiian began “offering drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 pre-flight tests for its guests traveling to the islands from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle. Guests who test within 72 hours of their flight and receive a negative result prior to departure will be exempt from the state of Hawaii quarantine.” Prices range from $90 for a 36-hour turnaround to $165 for 24-hour results. 

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. Time will tell whether our betters who consider themselves qualified and empowered to require masks, lockdowns, and other “prophylactic measures,” will have the consistency/courage to REQUIRE vaccinations.
    If not, then there’s no end to this “crisis.”

    Now THAT’S fodder for an AvWeb poll!

  2. I personally know two people working at companies developing this vaccine, in different parts of the process. They were very clear in our discussions – they will NOT be taking this most-rushed vaccine in history. And neither will I.
    International travel may not be on the cards as a result. So be it.

  3. As for myself, currently living downunder, this plan makes total sense. It has been widely proven that the “prophylactic measures” -including strict lockdowns, masks and effective tracing- have been successful in Australia. There was major backlash when certain measures were put in effect 2 months ago during a Melbourne outbreak which saw many infections and several weeks of daily deaths. Today: zero active cases in entire Victoria. The few Covid cases that exist in Australia are mainly found in people arriving from overseas during their mandatory 14 day quarantine.

    • Hey Joe,
      Do yourself a favor and look at other sources of information on e.g. the vaccine. There is no way that I will take it. just check out the following website and video. They are curently overloaded and will get back online soon

      • Why so hellbent on pushing your convictions on others? You’re hijacking and politicizing a news article and a comment on a current situation. And I’m not wasting my time on unsolicited propaganda. So you won’t be an international airline passenger soon, that’s your choice.

        • It’s easy to prove yourself right to yourself if you deem any contrasting data as ‘propaganda’. History is full of examples from individuals to entire nations.

  4. Their choice to follow the Scare and Fear Agenda of Bill Gates will cause many customers to look for other choices. I will simply not fly anymore if vaccines are mandated. They have simply put a lead belt around their neck. LOL Or put a lead belt around their waist before they are jumping back into the swimming pool. How stupid can one be. There is no way that I will take the vaccine!!!

    • Question: do you wear masks?
      Second question: since you won’t get vaccinated, what measures will you (continue to) take to prevent contraction of / transmission of the virus?
      Thanks in advance.

      • If you have little or no effect from covid, there is little chance you’ll spread it. Lots of studies have proven various ‘treatments’ that massively reduce covid effects (or conversely, deficiencies that make it much worse). These would make the vaccine practically irrelevant if anyone paid attention to them.
        It’s already widely known that something like 50% of people are totally asymptomatic. Why isn’t anyone paying attention to this? Surely the ‘solution’ is to simply determine what is different about these people, and induce that is others. No, it’s not vaccine-related.
        But since these treatments, for the most part, seem to be based on cheap and widely available substances, there is little money in promoting them. Money talks. Politicians talk. And a lot of money to be made with a ‘miracle covid vaccine’, mass-produced without normal safety trials.

        • “If you have little or no effect from covid, there is little chance you’ll spread it. ”

          NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!

          This statement is dead wrong and dangerous. How anyone can believe such a blatant falsehood after all we have learned over the past 8 months explains why cases are rising so fast.

          This virus spreads so rapidly because of asymptomatic spreaders. People who are infected but have no symptoms and go into public places without wearing a mask are responsible for getting others sick. We have know this for a very long time. The CDC says it, the AMA says, the WHO says, and every reputable epidemiologist will tell you this. If you test positive you need to quarantine and stay away from others.

          My head is still spinning that someone would post such irresponsible advice. Then again, this is AvWeb where most commenters know more than actual professionals thanks to a couple of you tube videos…

          • NO, NO NO NO NO!!!!

            Regurgitating what you heard on the news last night does not make you the expert you claim to be, I’m afraid.

            But if you test positive, I absolutely agree you are responsible to stay away from vulnerable people. But the current approach of throwing the baby out with the bathwater is doing far more harm than good, anyone with a little sense can see that.

    • I usually take a flu shot each fall. For all the years I have, I never had a negative reaction. LAST year 2019, I was given a choice or regular dose or HD dose; the HD dose was recommended for seniors. So I took it. A few days later, I started breaking out in small pimples on my arms and legs and — finally — the skin on one arm turned to horrible crepe corduroy looking. It required a Dr visit but all she told me to do was grin and bear it … “it’ll go away.” So I am now no longer taking a flu shot. I figure if I haven’t all the anti-bodies I need from previous shots or immunity from drinking beer … to heck with it. Covid vaccine … NO WAY !!

      I make a point of noting all the “new” pills big pharma is pushing on TV. Geezus … there’s a pill for everything AND … most of the time you get nice music and dancing girls, too. Seems like every day there’s some new commercial I’ve never seen. No thanks.

  5. I have no problem getting vaccinated, just don’t want to be among the first to do so. I am more afraid of getting tested since I have never had any symptoms, due to the unreliability of the tests. For domestic flying I wonder how proving vaccination before airlining would work against HIPAA laws in the US?

    • The US Congress passed the HIPAA laws. The US Congress can pass changes or exceptions to the HIPAA laws necessary to deal with COVID-19. If, that is, the US is capable of making wise choices, based on evidence, to solve problems. I worry that it is losing that capacity. This comment thread does not reassure me.

  6. Cameron G., I would be interested to hear some specifics as to what your aquaintences find so problematical about the safety or efficacy of the vaccines. Simply saying they aren’t safe doesn’t really inspire much confidence in their position. All three of the current front runners in the vaccine race have been developed by teams of scientists from different countries (the UK, Germany and France, in addition to US companies). That means that more than just the American FDA and CDC are overseeing the process, which takes the current American system out of the equation. The drug companies are in a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. When they moved quickly to try and head off an exploding virus outbreak, people insist it isn’t safe or has not been “properly” vetted. If they took the traditional time (up to 4 years) to develop the vaccine, people would scream that they were dragging their feet. You can’t have it both ways.

    Plus, you seem to imply that asymtomatic people who have the virus are, therefore, not contagious. Statistically, it is true that over half the cases show no outward symptoms. But, it is also true that they are actually contagious. In fact, doctors now believe that about 60% of new cases are spread by those who have the virus, but show no symptoms. That is part of the pernicious nature of this virus that allows it to spread so easily. For those of you who feel strongly that you will not take the vaccine, that is your prerogative. But, if you don’t, I suggest you resolve instead to do the other things we currently have (masks, sanitation & social distancing) that we know work. Totally ignoring this problem will not make it go away.

    • You answered much of your own question – why do you think there is a ‘traditional’ amount of time to develop a vaccine? You cannot grow a baby in 1 month using 9 mothers. The existing systems and protocols exist for a reason, much the same way aviation regulations exist for good reasons. Skip them at your peril, or rather, at the peril of your clients.
      Also, please don’t make nonsense accusations like ‘ignoring the problem won’t make it go away’. I never suggested any such thing. Do your own research (you clearly think I’m an idiot anyway), there are several readily accessible ways of dealing with this virus besides the magical vaccine.

      • Cameron, I do not think you are an idiot, and if I gave you that impression, I apologize. However, I do think you are taking a viewpoint that does not support reality. And, I have done my research. As Daniel says below, the research for a vaccine for the Corona virus did not start this year. It has been going on for over a decade and has been vetted probably more than any other vaccine in recent history. Suggesting it is unsafe because it has not followed the “traditional” path is simply not true. Questioning their safety based on unsupported comments is not helpful unless you can provide specific reasons as to why that may be true.

        I am also well aware of the alternative methods of treatment for those who have contracted the virus. Emphasis on treatment, versus prevention with a vaccine. Unfortunately, those treatments are not readily available to all patients and are not universally effective. I am aware of several cases where those treatments were applied, but the patients still died. A quick look around the country today would suggest that we are losing the battle with the virus and widespread inoculation is viewed as the best hope for stopping the spread. As for ignoring the problem, I am referring to people who refuse to take the current precautions, masks, social distancing, etc., because they don’t feel the threat is real. Tell that to the 260,000 plus people who would suggest otherwise. If you choose to not be vaccinated, that is your prerogative. Just don’t make unsupported claims about its safety and imply people who will take the vaccine are fools.

        • ‘Not readily available’ – they are on supermarket shelves.
          ‘Not universally effective’ true only if you are on death’s door, bit late then. Otherwise very effective, as shown in many studies.

    • People seem to forget (or are simply unaware) that much of the development of this vaccine was done over 10 years ago when development of a SARS vaccine began but was then shelved as the pandemic subsided and demand was no longer there. SARS, MERS, H1N1, and Ebola were all corona type viruses, so pharma already had a wealth of research completed prior to the outbreak of SARCov2. Once China provided the world with the RNA sequence, work was able to begin quickly.

      In addition, the two leading vaccine candidates from pFizer and Moderna use a new vaccine technology that employs messenger RNA. This technology has been in development for over 15 years and holds promise for many reasons, including the fact that it does not contain any live or inactive virus so there is far less risk of actual infection from the virus. It also requires fewer steps to develop since it does not require culturing an inactive virus.

      That said, all of these candidates have undergone the same level of testing starting with observations in-vitro, followed by testing on animals with similar genomes to humans, followed by phase I, phase II, and double blind phase III testing. And considering the current climate, these trials are undergoing greater scrutiny than any vaccine in the past. This vaccine is not being rushed to market. If it was, it would be available already.

      I have confidence that the scientific community will not promote a vaccine that is not safe and effective. When it becomes available to the general public in April, I will be first on line. Until then I will continue to wear a mask and physically distance, and take all the precautions the medical community advises because I do not want to be responsible for exposing others to potential risk.

      And if Qantas airlines, or any other airline chooses to require proof of immunization, that is their choice as a private company and I support that. And no folks, there is no HIPPA issue there, the airline is asking you to provide proof, they are not accessing your medical records. It’s no different from your college requiring you to supply immunization records. You are free to decline and they are free to say you can’t attend. If you don’t understand this simple fact you are probably getting all your information from conspiracy websites.

      • “I have confidence that the scientific community will not promote a vaccine that is not safe and effective.”
        Yet it has happened several times in the past in cases that were not rush like this one. Suggesting it is universally true or that the entire scientific community agrees with your position is plain falsehood.