MIAMI – Qantas (QF) CEO Alan Joyce stated via the BBC that many governments were considering vaccination as a “condition of entry.”

Joyce also stood by his steadfast support for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for passengers, especially for international travel. “We have a duty of care to our passengers and to our crew,” Joyce said before continuing, “to say that everybody in that aircraft needs to be safe.”

Meanwhile, Bernardo Mariano, the director of digital health and innovation at the World Health Organization (WHO) told the BBC that the organization does not “approve the fact that a vaccinations passport should be a condition for travel.”

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

A Boost for Air Travel?

A COVID-19 vaccine requirement, while not currently in effect at QF nor by many governments, is an interesting and perhaps effective idea. If people are vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 is greatly reduced, even if some passengers unintentionally unmask during flight.

While the concept is still in flux, many believe that passenger numbers would increase with a COVID-19 vaccine requirement or passport as people flying amid the pandemic would be protected.

However, a report by The Economist states that such a COVID-19 vaccine passport is considered “premature” to use for border crossings, according to a WHO study. Moreover, the Ada Lovelace Institute, a think tank that tracks vaccine passport initiatives around the world, concluded on February 17 that these are currently “not actually justified.”

Furthermore, critics argue that a vaccine passport will infringe on civil liberties, ie data privacy and the protection of travelers’ personal information, and restrict those who have refused a vaccine.

Qantas Boeing 737-800 Photo: Noah Pitkin – @cloud9.aviation