World Travel and Tourism Council attacks Qantas vaccine mandate

written by Adam Thorn | January 12, 2021
A file image of a Qantas Boeing 787-9. (Victor Pody)
A file image of a Qantas Boeing 787-9. (Victor Pody)

The chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council has said forcing passengers to receive COVID vaccinations before being allowed to board international flights would be similar to workplace discrimination.

Gloria Guevara’s comments at the Reuters Next conference will likely be taken as a swipe at Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who became the first major airline boss to insist on the practice.

“We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” Guevara said on Monday. “If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination.”

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It comes after Joyce said he made the decision because the business has a “duty of care to our people” and would put “safety ahead of popularity”.

“Once a safe and effective vaccine becomes readily available, it will be a requirement for travel on our international services,” said Joyce in December.

“There will be some exceptions for people who can’t – for medical reasons – take vaccines. And our flights to New Zealand will probably be exempt given their success at controlling COVID as well, just as domestic flights will be exempt.

“I acknowledge some people are opposed to vaccines in-principle. We respect that. But in return, we ask everyone who travels on Qantas and Jetstar to respect our safety protocols – which will include a COVID vaccine for international flights, at least until the pandemic is under control overseas.

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“In the past week, we’ve asked some of our customers their thoughts on this: 87 per cent said they would take a COVID vaccine if it was required to travel internationally; 85 per cent thought it should be required for travel to at least some countries.

It comes a week after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia will likely begin its COVID vaccination program weeks before its original start date of March.

The new plan would see inoculations begin in mid-February with a target of inoculating half the country – including the most vulnerable groups – in the first half of the year.

Australia has purchased doses of the vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, and also agreed to deals with candidates from Novavax and the University of Oxford.

The new plan – which came after pressure from the federal opposition – would see the Pfizer vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration this month, with the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab to follow shortly after.

The latter is seen as the key to vaccinating more Australians as it is cheaper and doesn’t have to be stored in a freezer.

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22 Comments

  • Brodie

    says:

    Sorry but the law is on Qantas side, other vaccines you take are required by law or no school, no pay. I’m proud we have done this as it should be done. You should not be allowed to travel and potentially kill people for your own greed.

    • Richard Boulton

      says:

      What about the years you had to carry a smallpox certificate to go overseas and a cholera certificate to anywhere in the east. It was accepted as normal like carrying a passport. What is wrong with the precious people of today. Accept the world has changed. Be part of the new rules or stay home.

    • Lee

      says:

      Incorrect.
      Discrimination on the grounds of health choices is more accurate.
      Who would choose Quantus with this mandate in place anyway?
      We have rights to control what happens to our body?

      • Mitchell King

        says:

        Do you get to keep those rights if there is a potential for it to affect other bodies? How can I trust you’ve done the right thing? If I get sick and die because you were a carrier, does that make you a killer?
        Knowing you’ve not been vaccinated is pre meditated. Isn’t it? You made a choice not to protect you and the people around you, you should go to jail then?

      • Col

        says:

        Yes Lee you have that right. You just leave all the heavy lifting up to other to create the heard amunity.
        You should be so Proud

      • Warwick

        says:

        Hey Lee…….

        There’s no ‘u’ in QANTAS, never has been, never will be!
        If you’re going to denigrate the Company, at least have the courtesy of spelling its’ name correctly!

      • Bob

        says:

        Sure you have the right to choose what happens to your body, and Qantas has the right to choose who utilises their services.

  • Andrejs Lasmanis

    says:

    Everybody should be vaccinated.
    It only takes one careless person who is a carrier in a public place and many may be infected.

  • Vannus

    says:

    Bollocks!

    For decades’, humans have been required to have valid Vaccinations’ to enter certain Countries’.
    Think Yellow Fever, various Hepatitis, Typhoid, Cholera, as well as anti-Malarial medication.
    If you don’t, you can’t enter said country.
    If an Airline requires a certain vaccination to board its’ planes, it has every right of requirement, or deny boarding, as it is part & parcel of ‘Conditions of Carriage’, a Contract pax ‘sign’ when they buy a ticket.
    QANTAS has a requirement to ensure its’ various staff on an aircraft, as well as its’ passengers’, are safe. To not do this is negligent.

  • Jock

    says:

    Freedom of choice is no freedom if it endangers others.

  • Shane

    says:

    Saying this is discrimination is as far from logical as can be. This is a health issue on a world wide scale. We are about to cross the line to 2 million people around the world dead from this virus. There is a duty of care that is required in any job. It’s called OH&S. Trying to stop the spread of something that can kill should be a top priority and standing in the way of that is pure negligence.

  • Peta Leseberg

    says:

    In some countries you are required to have the yellow fever vaccine to travel there allready so whats the problem having a requirement to have the Covid19 vaccine to travel international on Qantas.

  • Lee Robertson

    says:

    Disagree Brodie.
    Vaccination is a choice. We have rights to control our own body, which means mandating injecting foreign chemicals and cells, source unkown largely, by a CEO of an airline is ridiculous.
    There are grounds for discrimination, will we all need to wear blue, be under the age of 54, have grey hair, be vaccinated when we are not sick?
    From someone who has personal experience, discrimination on the grounds of health choices, will not hold water.
    Legally it is not possible, I would suggest.
    And seriously who would consider using Quantus with this kind of mandate in place?

    • James

      says:

      Lee.

      Spell Qantas correctly.

      The CEO isn’t the one who just dreams this up and takes it to work. If a vaccine is what gets the country/world moving again, then do it.

    • Greg

      says:

      Yes. Vaccination is a choice. If you don’t want to be vaccinated then don’t fly. Simples.
      No one is going to hold you down and give you a jab, but Qantas do have a right and a duty to protect their staff and your fellow travellers, so can prevent you from using their services unless you are vaccinated.
      I am more inclined to use Qantas since they have mandated this as they have my welfare in the forefront.
      Wake up to the new norm .

    • Chris

      says:

      Sorry Lee you’re wrong! I’ve worked in the airline industry for 40 years before retiring and as Vannus says in his comments, for decades we’ve been required to have valid Vaccinations’ to enter certain Countries’. Remember if you wanted to travel to certain countries you were required to show the carrier, regardless of whether it was Qantas or any other carrier, valid vaccination certificates or you were denied boarding as it was a condition of your travel to comply with the TIM (Travel Information Manual) and the airline had no choice but to deny boarding as it is the requirement under the ‘Conditions of Carriage’. If they were to let you go and the country refused entry because you couldn’t comply with their required Health conditions you were denied entry and sent back on the next available aircraft and the airline that accepted you would be heavily fined for letting you check in and travel! Many diseases were and still are required by certain counties such as Yellow Fever, various Hepatitis, Typhoid, Cholera and more! Covid is no different and I wouldn’t be at all surprised, when the dust settles, you’ll probably find that the TIM will list in is manual that every country requires Covid Vaccine as a health requirement as a condition of entry and therefore ALL airlines will have to comply! By the way the correct spelling is Qantas NOT Quantas. Thank you, Chris

    • Mitchell King

      says:

      You absolutely have the right not to use the vaccine. But then you don’t have the right to travel. How about you be responsible for your own choices.
      If the rule is universal, then there is no discrimination. None. If you have an issue, charter your own plane.
      Also, vaccines are used to prevent illness and are not taken WHEN you are sick.
      Personally, I would prefer an airline taking a hard stance for my safety.

    • Nate

      says:

      QANTAS CEO Mr Alan Joyce has every right to mandate who travels aboard his Company’s aircraft.
      Vaccination requirements of the country to which you’re travelling Internationally, are scanned at flight check-in. If you don’t have said ‘jabs’ an airline cannot board you, as it will be fined 1000’s of $ for doing so, as well as having to carry you ex that country ie deportation.
      So it’s YOUR responsibility to ensure your all your vaccination requirements are up to date!
      All this hogwash of late about having vaccinations’ has come about during a world-wide PANDEMIC!
      I’m sure the folk who lived in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries’ would’ve been only too happy to obtain vaccinations’ against Smallpox, Typhoid, Cholera, Yellow Fever, Polio etc, as well as anti-Malarial medication.
      The world is rid of some of the above, ONLY because of vaccinations!

    • Bob

      says:

      No one is forcing anyone to do anything. If you don’t want to be vaccinated then that is your choice, just like Qantas has the choice not to serve you.

    • Chris

      says:

      Then you don’t have the right to travel on QF – simple – if it had not been for compulsory vaccinations for travel years ago, people would still be dying from small-pox, cholera, thyphoid, yellow fever – don’t like it, don’t travel – in the end each sovereign country will also decide whether they allow people in without the vaccination record – insanity would be to allow large numbers of unvaccinated travellers to start spreading this virus, given the damage it has done to each countries economy – anything else is nonsense

  • Susan Allan

    says:

    What happened to freedom of choice,
    Why do we have to have a vaccine we are not sure of to travel. Around the world, you are killing our dreams more than killing people from a virus.

    • Chris

      says:

      Stay home if you don’t like it – no-one wants more if this virus damaging their economy and killings it’s people

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