Qantas has urged all states to make COVID vaccines mandatory for all Australian aviation workers.
While it is encouraging that NSW and SA have made immunizations mandatory for international aviation employees, the company stated on Wednesday that a national approach is required to avoid a “patchwork of rules between the borders.”
It comes after the TWU discovered earlier this month that only one-third of aviation workers had been fully immunized with two doses.
“Since the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Qantas Group has strongly encouraged our people to get vaccinated and is offering paid time off to get the jab,” the airline said in a statement. “We’ve also lobbied the government to give aviation workers priority access to the vaccine.
“We did this not only because vaccinations are the only way to break the cycle of lockdowns and border closures, but also because they have been shown to be one of the most effective layers of defense against the potentially serious health effects of this virus.
“While all data shows that the risk of COVID transmission onboard aircraft remains very low, and there are many safeguards in place at airports, nothing reduces the risk to health like the vaccines approved for use in Australia.” This is critical for our front-line teams, who interact with thousands of people every day.
“Because the Qantas Group is in charge of an essential service, we must take precautions to avoid major disruptions. We’ve seen how one COVID-positive employee can inadvertently shut down a freight facility or passenger terminal, having a significant impact on the broader community and economy.