Virgin Australia is a step away from making vaccination against the COVID-19 virus mandatory for all of its employees. 

Currently, the Australian air carrier is negotiating with its employees and their unions the possibility of making vaccination mandatory for all staff. 

The airline’s chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka believes that mandatory staff vaccination could have a significant impact on general vaccination rates in the country. In turn, this could result in accelerated border reopening.

Speaking to media on August 30, 2021, Hrdlicka counted that by early December 2021, around 80% of people across Australia could get their vaccine shots, suggesting that international flights could be resumed as soon as the upcoming Christmas of 2021. 

"If you do the math, across the country, we should be in a position where we're 80 percent vaccinated, you know, at the latest end of November, early December. [...] I'm not sure what we're waiting for, in opening up travel quarters with other countries that are well vaccinated," Hrdlicka told the ABC.

The final Virgin Australia decision over mandatory vaccination should be announced by September 2021. The airline aims to vaccinate all of its 6,000 employees. 

If Virgin Australia decides to go ahead with the mandatory vaccination, it will become the second airline in Australia to implement the requirement. 

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Qantas Airways will implement a requirement for all of its staff to get fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by March 31, 2022.
 

Qantas Airways has already told their 22,000-strong staff to get fully vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. The airline plans to fully vaccinate its frontline staff, which has direct contact with customers, by mid-November 2021. The remaining employees, including office workers, should get their second vaccine no later than the end of March 2022.