No jab, no fly is the next logical step

 

I'm dreaming of a trip to Paris. I blame Emily and Netflix. As soon as flights open up, I'm jumping on a plane, climbing the Eiffel Tower, dunking croissants in hot chocolate and pretending to speak French.

But first, a trip to my doctor. If you want to board a Qantas flight overseas in the near future, you will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine. Just like the jab itself, the details are still being worked out. It could be a feature on the airline's app, a digital COVID-safe tick of approval, or perhaps written confirmation from your GP. Whatever the means, sign me up.

Back in August, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a coronavirus vaccine would be "as mandatory as you can possibly make". Only one day later, a backflip. Morrison told 2GB in Sydney: "There will be no compulsory vaccine, but there will be a lot of encouragement and measures to get as high a rate of acceptance as usual". I'd say the temptation of overseas travel or even visiting relatives interstate might be the only encouragement we need.

 

Mandatory vaccines for overseas travel is not new. According to the World Health Organisation, close to 20 countries have compulsory yellow fever vaccines, other countries encourage shots for hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and other horrible diseases that were long ago eradicated from our shores.

EU countries including Italy, France and Germany have compulsory vaccines against diseases like measles, tetanus and polio for their citizens. The difference here is the coronavirus vaccine is not just protecting you on the ground in some far-flung, exotic destination, you would be protected right from check-in.

If you're a parent, you would already be used to keeping track of your child's vaccines in a big blue book. Perhaps it's time for an adult version. In most states, there is already "No jab, no play" legislation in place so "No jab, no fly" is the next logical step. What's the alternative? Do you really fancy being squeezed into a jumbo jet next to someone who hasn't been vaccinated? Clambering over their COVID-infected tray table? Wondering if they sanitised their hands when they pop to the loo?

There will always be naysayers. A UK-based travel company has already announced it will boycott Qantas flights because of the travel ban. Other anti-vaxxers are refusing to get the injection at all. Good luck to them. I'll send a postcard from Paris.

Originally published as No jab, no fly is the next logical step


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