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Virgin won’t mandate vaccinations for domestic passengers

written by Adam Thorn | October 21, 2021
A Virgin Australia 737, VH-YFZ, flies past Melbourne’s air traffic control tower. (Victor Pody)

Virgin Australia has confirmed it will not mandate vaccinations for its passengers on domestic flights.

Chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said on Thursday the issue was a “matter for government” but it would follow any rules implemented by states.

The business previously revealed it would make COVID jabs mandatory for customer-facing staff by 15 November and office-based employees by 31 March.

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Speaking at the Flight Centre’s Illuminate conference, Hrdlicka called the decision “difficult” because the company can only have certainty over its own staff.

“I suspect some states will require only vaccinated travellers to move between states, and we will absolutely support any government requirement,” Hrdlicka said.

“But it’s not on us to mandate that ourselves. It’s really a matter for the government. So, we stand ready to implement and we think it makes sense to do that.  We stand ready to work with the governments on how to make that practical and realistic.”

Hrdlicka added that the situation would likely be different for international travel, where COVID jabs would be “a must-have”.

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Vaccinations are set to be effectively mandatory for travelling into Australia next month, with NSW scrapping the expensive hotel quarantine for those who have been fully inoculated against coronavirus from 1 November.

Hrdlicka previously hailed jabs as “the only way back to normal freedom of movement” and the “only solution to the situation Australia currently finds itself in”.

“The majority of our team at Virgin Australia are already vaccinated, and we will be listening to our team members to ensure we find the best fit policy for our organisation,” she said.

“We know that some team members have questions and concerns about vaccinations.  Through an internal campaign of education with qualified experts, we aim to inform and assure as many of our team members as possible.

“We trust medical experts, their advice and the evidence that shows that vaccines save lives and reduce hospitalisation rates.”

The business said a recent survey of team members found that over 75 per cent of frontline staff had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with another 9 per cent registered.

Victoria has already opened its border to NSW, but only to fully vaccinated residents.

Those meeting the requirements will also not have to take a test or quarantine as Greater Sydney was downgraded from a red to orange zone, as part of its traffic light system.

25 Comments

  • Taylor

    says:

    So those pax who aren’t vaxxed will be sat ‘down the back of the bus’?

    How’s Virgin going to ‘police’ this, as those vaxxed won’t want to sit next/near those unvaxxed.

    Interesting conundrum, which also applies to businesses’ on the ground, allowing both lots of folk into their premises’.

    ‘Segregation’ somewhat?

  • DavidN

    says:

    Well I certainly won’t be flying on Virgin. I’m damned certain I don’t want to be served by someone who could be Covid positive!

    I find this incredibly selfish!

    • Danielle

      says:

      What are you concerned about if you’re so confident in its efficacy? It may actually be you who has it and passes it to your server.

  • Wayne

    says:

    Thank God Virgin isn’t mandating vaccination. They shouldn’t do with their staff either.

    • Nate

      says:

      Don’t think ‘God’ had any input to Hrdlicka’s poor decision……

    • Paul Ferrie

      says:

      Clearly, as a rugged individualist you are an anti-vaxxer. To take such a stand against the massive body of scientific evidence is astonishing. I take it that if you acquired COVID-19 Disease, you would stick to your principles and forego any medical intervention to preserve health and prevent possible death.
      Virgin have lost me as a customer. As a fully vaccinated retired registered nurse with forty years clinical experience, the necessity of vaccination is a no brainer.

      • peter

        says:

        Everyone do your homework please and no name calling. WHO defiunition of a vaccine does not include mRNA tech injections and they are still in Stage 3 trials. As UK PM Boris stated just days ago, Covid shots will NOT stop you getting infected nor from spreading it another.
        Always question people please and never accept one source for your info and that includes media all using the same source which they often do.
        Australia has NO vaccine mandates despite the rhetoric and orders. Never has Australia voted for and approved medical Apartheid in any form so it is unlawful. Which might be why governments are getting individuals and businesses to do the work and take the legal risks.
        Lesson?? Do your own homework and then double check and triple check.

  • Jeff Lurie

    says:

    Guess I won’t be flying Virgin on their domestic routes for the foreseeable future!! Have supported them from the beginning!

  • Stephen B S

    says:

    Well, I won’t be flying domestic with Virgin then …

  • Nicholas

    says:

    What a mess, the WA dictator is now talking of mandating that all entrants to the WA Soviet must be fully vaccinated. You don’t need anymore than one other state to follow, and practicalities will mean the decision will be taken out of the hands of the Airlines, if it hasn’t already…..

  • Brendan Robertson

    says:

    Is the CEO of Virgin really serious regarding vaccination of domestic passengers ?? Well as someone who would like to see those family members resident in WA; thanks for nothing! Already blocked from access to WA for nearly 2 years and with no sign of the border reopening before Easter 2022 – taking a lead from (WA) government regulations should guarantee no access before Autumn 2022 and even then, no guarantee that air passengers would not be required to quarantine if a positive COVID case was traced back to a specific (Virgin) flight. First they dispose of the A330s (best economy wide body in the sky) and now this. The friendship is getting wafer thin!

  • Niall

    says:

    Good on Virgin for applying some common sense here and recognizing those who make a personal choice should not be excluded. C’mon people..stop making out like just because your vaccinated you cant catch or pass on Covid still as it has already been proven. Australia needs to reunite and provide for people on both sides of the equation…if you only want to fly with vaxed people then choose to fly Qantas…allow others in society to still be able to function as well.
    I will support Virgin here as Qantas have ditched myself and others who wish to have a choice over our bodies. We are ‘Not’ antivax…we are pro choice just as you wish to also lead your lifes…..so lets have choice for both and respect that.

    • Sue

      says:

      I totally agree that we should be able to make our own decisions as to what we do and don’t put in our body and we should be able to travel. Just because somebody has at the “jab” as they like to call it, doesn’t mean that you are any safer then the next person. We have a lockdown, you are locked down, you have to wear masks and you have to have covid tests, so what is being achieved. Good on Virgin for having sense enough to try and make us feel “normal” again. An example, on returning on Queensland in August I had to have a covid test and quarantine for 14 days, I said to the nurse that nobody at the airport asked me if I had been vaccinated, her response to that was: “It is irrelevant”, I rest my case. One of the steward’s on the plane wasn’t even wearing his mask properly, so you certainly can’t blame passengers for that.

  • Huxtapenny

    says:

    We are all Australians and the discrimination and ignorant unscientific segregation must stop! HIV addle over again. Our sort, also need to see beloved family too we can’t buy our own airline. Vaccines can and do cause injury and deaths, that is a fact.
    Check the TGA reports. Maybe staff at virgin will follow the action Southwest Airline staff.

  • Neil

    says:

    Another reason why i wouldn’t fly with Virgin!!

  • Uydy

    says:

    Thank goodness we have to uphold freedom of choice. We live in a democracy. If you are vaxed why do you feel so unsafe?

    • peter

      says:

      Australia was not and never has been a democracy. Claimed in the name of the British Crown the English settled violently seizing land and resources to create a Crown Colony. 1901 and it became a Constitutional Monarchy by act of the British Parliament and Royal ascent followed by Australian referendum. Never was and still is not a democracy.

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    I happen to agree with he Boss Lady, the nations health and welfare policy wise emanates from the Fed. Govt and we should all abide by that policy decision. No decision, no jab and visa versa, Q.E.D. – on this subject, personal choice comes last!

  • Mike

    says:

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Looking at the comments to this article, whatever decision VA management made, there will be those in thorough agreement and others with a completely opposing view.

  • Dave

    says:

    We need 90% plus vaccination to really protect the community, but the stupid anti-vax crowd (a vocal selfish minority) will throw a major spanner in the works.
    So if we fly on Virgin, we might be sitting next to somebody who is both unvaxed AND also quite possibly Covid positive, and served by a flight attendant who has picked up the virus as well.

    No thanks!
    Bye bye Virgin!

    • peter

      says:

      Be polite please. Listen carefully to the public announcements made repeatedly with the latest from UK PM Boris. Getting the Covid shot will NOT, note please, will NOT prevent infection nor prevent cross infection to another. Put in plain language herd immunity will never be achieved with a medication that cannot and will not prevent infection and cross infection.
      Perhaps it would pay you to do a little more homework before shouting at other people with uncalled for rude comments.

  • Warrion Nation

    says:

    If the covid injections work then, no one who has one, has any grounds to complain concerning passengers who didn’t take one. It just shows the irrational thought pattern that people who take covid shots develop. They also ignore independent science which shows that the Vaxxed spread disease to the unvaxxed and are further susceptible to serious life threatening blood-clots at high altitudes.

  • Mike

    says:

    If you’ve had the vax, you can still catch the virus.
    If you’ve had the vax, you can still spread the virus.
    If you’ve had the vax, your symptoms will be less.

    If you haven’t had the vax and get symptoms, you are more likely to get checked out, isolate and stop the spread.

    If you’ve had the vax and get the virus, due to the symptoms being less, you are more likely to continue circulating in society spreading the virus, not knowing you are doing so.

    Doesn’t sound like the non-vax’d are the problem…Good on Virgin for letting people make a choice, not shoving it down peoples throats and having everyone live in fear.

  • Stuart

    says:

    I agree. What on earth can vaccinated travellers possibly be worried about? Hats off to Virgin for supporting, in this case, non discrimination of human beings.

  • Kay

    says:

    Reading through these comments on this article, I am hard pressed to even recognise our beloved Australia – once upon a time, ‘the lucky country’ where everyone (irrespective of race, age, ethnicity, political view or sexual orientation) can move freely, choose where to live & interact with their families, loved ones & friends. What have we become? Pitching insults & declaring judgments re Vaxxed vs Non vaxxed circular arguments are dividing our country. Wake up people! We should be and fundamentally are in the same page – none of us want COVID is our lives but it is here. We need to manage it FAIRLY for everyone. We are almost there re vaccination % target to alleviate potential Hospital overwhelming and those who choose to go herd immunity (remember this was original Gvmt strategy) will take their own informed risk (same as crossing the road). Fact: We can all catch & spread COVID. Possible Solution: For higher risk / enclosed areas whilst COVID cases are still high, implement system of checking (rapid antigen testing) at key events, workplaces (already do drug / alcohol testing) cinemas, airports, schools & hospitals…and get on with our lives…just the same as every other country that has opened up has done so with multitude of cases. Regarding Virgin, I applaud them for ensuring their is an alternative airline that still supports choice and not discriminating against basic human rights. Well done, smart strategic branding move to offer choice (seen as we all still breathe the same air in the plane no matter where you sit)!

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