Airline CEO: You’ll Need Proof Of Vaccination To Fly

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says you’ll need proof of vaccination against Covid-19 to be able to fly his airline internationally, whether arriving or departing Australia.

I’ve written that some countries are likely to require proof of vaccination for entry, although the speed at which vaccinations roll out to the world is likely to lag far behind the pace of the United States and Europe. That’s both an economic reality and an infrastructure reality. Much of the world will be able to distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine which simply requires refrigeration, but not the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which much be stored at below freezing temperatures.

Countries without access to significant vaccine doses are more likely to require either proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry.

Qantas has been among the most aggressive airlines shutting down air travel during the pandemic. Over the summer they said they don’t expect to resume long haul operations until July 2021 although the actual timeline may be heavily contingent on restrictions for entering (and leaving) Australia, and specific estimates of service resumption predated public announcements of vaccine progress.

  • Pfizer announcing 95% effectiveness in trials
  • Moderna accountings 94.5% effectiveness in trials
  • AstraZeneca announcing up to 90% effectiveness, depending on the dosing regimen (I’ve written that I worry this vaccine won’t work a second time, that immunity will develop to the adenovirus used, but that same idea could also explain why using a full dose for the first shot led to the lower levels of reported efficacy)

Having multiple vaccine manufacturers, alongside Chinese vaccines, will speed up the world’s return to normal – although Joyce says not just any vaccine will do, there will have to be proof of one deemed sufficiently protective. (Given the contract Australia has with AstraZeneca I’d expect this vaccine to be on the list.)

While the head of the U.S. federal government’s vaccine efforts says 70% of the country could be vaccinated by May and return to normal, in fact some modicum of normalcy could return much earlier from a combination of people having gotten the virus and retaining some level of immunity plus vaccinations. That’s why I’ve been predicting a return to normal in summer 2021 for quite some time, at least for those in the ‘global north’.

Qantas’ requirements may not be a bellwether for the world, but they do point to an expectation that travelers will need to be vaccinated in order to have access to the world. And this requirement is likely to last, when put in place by governments, for longer than is necessary.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Wonder if these woke Airlines like Qantas will not go begging for Free Tax-payer money from Australian (& respective country’s) Government when they run out of money eventually?? This will be a woke policy gone too far & will not succeed. 90% effectiveness rate in a vaccine? Biology does not work that way, micro-organisms “always” mutate, thats how they survive & live on & on in our vast environment. There will be a Covid-20, then 21, 22 & so on. These Governments & elitists are lying to people by telling them that vaccinations will stop the spread of a super-contagious virus like Covid. The proverbial cat came out of the bag in Wuhan in Dec 2019. Almost everyone on this planet will get infected from it, now or later. They need to stop sugar-coating & lying to common people.

  2. I like this. I think other airlines should follow. As well, if employers made it mandatory for all employees. And schools for all students. It’s the only way we will get to 70% of the population being vaccinated – which is the only way we will be able to end this nightmare and return to normalcy. I don’t give a damn about your personal freedoms when the health and well being of my family, friends, and employees is affected. The best way to assure it is not for the governments to make it mandatory, but for businesses to tell you…”get vaccinated or you are not welcome in our store, airline, workplace, or restaurant.” Only then will we see how much people value their personal freedoms.

  3. I’m with Bob. Tell me Gary, should we have stopped at some arbitrary figure when inoculating people against Polio, or wait until it was eradicated? It’s a rhetorical question, of course, but I’d really stick to facts rather than uniformed opinion.

  4. Yup, I’m with Stuart on this. Possibly make the next U.S. stimulus check contingent on vaccination — I’ve seen a mention of that idea, though it’s a long shot.

  5. @Panda Mick – who on earth is talking about STOPPING vaccinations? And people who have retained immunity from prior exposure to the virus will have that immunity for a certain period of time, we don’t know how long yet.

  6. @Bob – we don’t know how long is necessary right now where we stand today, we’ll see what data on spread looks like. the data will tell us.

    My point is simply that requirements outlast their usefulness.

  7. @ Panda Mick… this is not Polio (!!), & NO the vaccination would NOT “eradicate Covid”. Covid virus is super-super-super contagious, unlike anything else the world has ever seen. And are you planning to “shut down” the entire world, until you elitists try to eradicate Covid, over how many years?? It took the Polio vaccine 70 years & polio still exists in a few hundred people every year who still get infected & polio is not even remotely as contagious as Covid. Facts are facts, science is science.

  8. I think this will hurt airlines and countries that require this in the long run.

    I fully expect most to eventually get the vaccine. There will be some hold outs but most will get it when/if it is proved safe and effective as more people get the vaccine.

    Where it gets tricky is yearly or greater vaccines. Many don’t get flu shots. How many will travel to Australia if it means paying or going through the hassel of getting your updated (yearly, monthly, weekly?) vaccine.

    Until we know how long the vaccine conveys immunity, we wont know how many shots we will need. Yearly or monthly shots for billions of people will be a difficult logistics problem.

    As Dr Fauci said the vaccine might not prevent the vaccinated from spreading it. That means a vaccine might only protect you. It might not protect those not vaccinated or the 10-20% who dont achieve immunity from the vaccine.

  9. Should also require vaccinations for other highly contagious diseases like measles, which is increasingly spreading because of anti-vax idiocy and causing real permanent damage to people. We went from millions of deaths per year 40 years ago worldwide to ~100k worldwide until this anti-vax garbage started up. Now we’re back up over 200k and we keep going up.

    Flying is a privilege, not a right.

  10. Pfizer announced they can make 100 million doses this year, not more. Experts say it takes til the end of 2021 until everyone who wants to get a shot can get one. 1st is for risk groups (elderly, preexisting cond.,…)
    So its silly to make it mandatory when as a healthly non risk group person you cant get a shot.

    Luckily in many countries such t&c wont be valid, i.e. here in Germany it wont be neccessary.
    LH is trying mandatory rapid antigent tests for 2 flights daily between MUC and HAM, its within their t&c but they are invalid under German law.
    A private company cannot require vaccination, only states can.

    But most likely many countries will just make it as entry requirement.

    But good luck getting a doses if you’re not part of the risk group. In my opinion rapid antigen tests at departure and arrival is the way to go for the next 12 months.

  11. I agree with the requirement. After all, there are several inoculation protocols already in place for international travel: yellow fever for Suriname, etc.

    My question is how this proof will be established. A simple paper “certificate” will easily be forged, complex additions to the bio-security details on in’s passport will require significant cooperation.

    What are the options for a secure, globally accessible and straightforward proof of vaccination?

  12. @MaxGlobetrotter “What are the options for a secure, globally accessible and straightforward proof of vaccination?”

    Time for the Qtards to start on the whole Bill Gates microchip implant thing again

  13. This should be interesting to see. Just like wearing the face diaper, getting the vaccine will be a marker to determine an individual’s level of critical thought. And judging by what I’ve witnessed over the past nine months, it’s not going to be good. Only a fool what subject themselves to an under-tested, experimental drug to avoid a less than 1% risk of a significantly bad outcome.

  14. Yes, it is a sensible and necessary requirement. Those declining vaccination must be denied travel; it’s highly likely they’ve been engaging in other high-risk activities, including failure to wear masks, not social distancing, inadequate sanitary measures. Many of the ferals protesting against their loss of ‘freedoms’ look as though they could use a good scrub…so one very much doubts they take hygiene very seriously.

  15. Great! Make sure all science denying Trumptards get an extra large gauge needle right up their arses, or else no travel for you! Haha.

  16. @Mr. G. As long as it involves showing a vaccination upon departure. I will gladly travel anywhere.

  17. @Stuart – Yes good idea to require the vaccination to enter any restaurant, business, etc. Perhaps you could recommend we tattoo each person’s body with the official government seal indicating the appropriate vaccine has been administered!

  18. @Paolo – the horror, someone engaging in “high risk” behavior by *gasp* not wearing a mask. Who in the hell are you to judge someone’s hygiene habits. I hope you’re having fun staying at home until it’s “safe”. Now get out of my way before I cough on you you jackass.

  19. @UA, thanks for validating in which camp you reside. Your level of ignorance is demonstrated by your comments.

  20. Ah James N doesn’t even know the difference between a vaccine and a drug. And then it talks about critical thought. The irony. @jamesn

  21. Many countries in the world require proof of vaccination against particular viruses and such to enter those countries….I don’t have a problem with that. I do have a problem with Covid vaccine. Why? The other vaccines are thoroughly tested–been around for a long time, and know what the long-term effects are. We don’t know the long-term effects are for the Covid vaccine, so it shouldn’t be a requirement for travel or anything until we know what the long-term effects are (if any).

  22. I have never had a flu vaccine and I most certainly won’t get a Covid vaccine. I’ve had Covid with no symptoms I can’t believe the airlines are forcing this vaccine to travel. It upsets me greatly And obviously stops me travelling by air to my beloved homelands. 89 percent of those tested to date are asympomatic. Please stop scare mongering. So angry. This vaccine hasn’t even been tested properly and efffects over time not seen but now you force this. Watch them change their mind when people don’t travel to their countries. Unless the people follow like sheep as they are doing today.

  23. Lots of angry people out there. I guess hurt people hurt others, so I’m sorry for your pain. But, it’s thanksgiving week in the US, friends. Why not give it a rest and reward yourself with some kindness?

  24. From what I’ve heard, coronavirus vaccines do not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections nor spreading the infection others. A vaccine that is 95% effective merely means if you become infected with SARS-CoV-2, there is a 95% chance you won’t develop serious COVID-19 disease. Even vaccinated people will still need to be tested the same as nonvaccinated people to prevent spread of the infection.

    While vaccinated people present little risk of becoming ill in a foreign country, testing still seems to be key to opening travel if preventing spread is the goal.

  25. Those that are in fear of this virus need to read and read deeply and follow the scientific facts !
    Wake up people !!!
    Stop being in fear and look at the ludicrous of Covid – it’s high intelligence of measuring – knowing the difference between Day and night and can differentiate between financial status – those elite dinner parties and a working class family party ! lol For god sake wake up !
    No you don’t need a vaccine for Covid .. and …
    Why a vaccine for Covid – have you asked yourself this ? How about all other so called deadly viruses never needing a vaccine before ..
    Are vaccines safe ? Is this vacinne safe ? Who is making the money m vaccines ? Has it been tested or are you going to be the idiots who test it ?
    How about those stating it’s needs to be mandatory along with their families be our test dummies and let’s review for a few years and follow their path of immunity destruction from the ingredients of this vaccine !
    Have you researched the ingredients of this vaccine before you shout it into your self and your children ?
    Do some research and read from the highly educated Drs- scientists and more ( of course a lot of information hidden now ) mmm dint you question that fact alone ?!!
    There has never been 100% immunity from any virus – people die of flu every year !
    Wake up please people !!
    And say No to this insanity
    Stop living in fear
    We simply won’t fly with those who lie and follow this agenda !

  26. @Sofia. Did you forget to take your meds this morning? Who is ‘we’ in the ”We simply won’t fly with those who lie and follow this agenda !’? Please don’t have the vaccine, It will be a way of culling the herd.

  27. Wow, lots of people reading this website seem unfamiliar with Google and prefer to ask questions here instead of doing their research.

    Anything that gets international travel returning to normal is good by me.

  28. Some people have made good points.
    There has been inadequate testing on the vaccine so why would anyone risk the unknown side effects from these vaccine? If you decide to vaccinate that is your choice and you will also have the risk of suffering from the possible undesirable side effects with the drug companies taking no liability.
    No-one can force anyone to take the Covid vaccine if it is against your personal rights or religion.
    Any airline that can state it is mandatory to have the vaccine is unethical and I would boycott them and choose another or just not fly until this is lifted.
    There are many other diseases worse than Covid, such as the flu, so why the mass panic and fear?
    I wear my mask, sanitize and social distance and stay in my bubble, though I still live my life.
    I feel I am doing my part for those at risk such as the elderly and immune-comprised.

  29. If there will be a requirement for passengers on international and/or national flights to provide proof of having had the Covid-19 vaccine, will they also have to show proof of a negative test result?

  30. All these nasty comments to people with valid points, it should be a choice to take.or.not period, quit shoving this crap not peoples throats, it is our American right, not following the pack at wise, way too much corruption in this world, and cannot trust what is being said to defend the vaccine.

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