The Qantas CEO revealed that once the vaccine becomes available, its usage will be integrated into the airline’s terms and conditions for travel. “For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,” he said “Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.”
He said he expects other airlines will do the same. “I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,” Joyce said that as soon as potential travel ‘bubble’ to countries like Singapore and Japan open up to Australia, Qantas would send planes straight away. Joyce also said the airline is conducting tests with people travelling on repatriation flights back to Australia to see if the full 14 days of quarantine were necessary, as well as testing the wastewater on aircraft for COVID19.
Restrictions to flying based on medical conditions are not new. For most of the 20th century travellers had to provide proof of vaccination against many diseases. This writer has experienced this many times. The yellow coloured booklet – International Certificates of Vaccination – was as valuable as your passport. You often required to produce both to travel to and enter a country. Obtaining a visa to a country could also require submitting both documents. I have been travelling for quite a long time and still keep this book up to date, up to four booklets now!
Airlines already have a list of medical conditions, from which they can stop you from flying on their aircraft.
IATA is calling for systematic COVID-19 testing of all international travellers. It says the information flow infrastructure needed to enable this must support:
- Governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of those presenting the test certificates.
- Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel.
- Laboratories with the means to issue digital certificates to passengers that will be recognised by governments, and;
- Travellers with accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey test information to airlines and border authorities.
IATA and other world health groups are developing an electronic version of the vaccination certificate. You can see a summary of the World Health Forum thoughts here.
This writer, along with some colleagues who have discussed this topic, think this is a good idea. If this protects us from extremist anti vaccination people then all power to Qantas. This is a smart move by Qantas as many people will pay that bit more to have that security. Those anti vaccers can always takes a train, drive, or start their own airline. Yes there may be a small percentage who cannot, for other genuine medical reasons, not take a vaccine. This may prove an issue. Although another system may be developed for the airline, many nations wont necessarily agree to that system. Its not just the airline, but each country as well. In the past the one system – the yellow medical book – worked across all concerned parties. If you didn’t have it up to date and with you, you did not enter that country, or get their visa.
Back to the past to go ahead with the future.