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Qantas to require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Qantas has announced that it will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The carrier says that this is a part of its commitment to safety.

Qantas states that Frontline employees – including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers – will need to be fully vaccinated by 15th November 2021 and the remainder of employees by 31st March 2022. There will be exemptions for those who are unable for documented medical reasons to be vaccinated, which the group states is expected to be very rare.

Qantas says that the policy has followed the airline’s consultation with their and Jetstar’s employees including a survey sent to 22,000 people to seek their views on vaccination. The survey received 12,000 responses in which the results showed that:

  • 89% have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or plan to be vaccinated, of which: 77% have had at least one dose, 60% are fully vaccinated and 12% are booked or planning to book
  • 7% have not yet decided or preferred not to say
  • 4% are are unwilling or unable to get the vaccine

Announcing the policy, Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Group, said:

Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to. One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day. Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us. We provide an essential service, so this will help guard against the disruptions that can be caused by just one positive COVID-case shutting down a freight facility or airport terminal.

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Mr. Joyce added:

It’s clear that vaccinations are the only way to end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures and for a lot of Qantas and Jetstar employees that means getting back to work again. This was one of the largest responses to any survey we’ve conducted, even with thousands of our people stood down, which shows just how important this is for them. Since vaccines became available, we’ve strongly encouraged all of our people to get the jab and are offering paid time off to get it done. We were really pleased to see from the survey that more than three quarters of those who responded have already rolled up their sleeve at least once and 60 per cent have had both jabs. Many of our people said they would feel concerned about working with unvaccinated colleagues, which is something that many workplaces across the country are grappling with. We understand there will be a very small number of people who decide not to get the vaccine, and that’s their right, but it’s our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our employees and for our customers.

Qantas states that thousands of aviation workers supporting international flights in New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand are already required to be vaccinated by those jurisdictions.

Additionally, the group says that it will discuss further on the details of the policy, including how medical exemptions will be applied, with employees, their health and safety representatives and unions over the coming weeks.

Furthermore, in a separate survey of more than 1000 Qantas customers, 92% said they expect Qantas crew to be fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Qantas has announced the resumption of flights to Proserpine for the first time in seven years and has also announced a significant domestic expansion including deploying its Boeing B787 Dreamliners on some domestic routes. The airline has resumed flights to Burnie too.

Featured image by Qantas

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