Virgin Australia to require COVID-19 vaccinations for staff

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Virgin Australia said on Thursday it will require all its staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in line with domestic rival Qantas Airways Ltd and a growing number of airlines in the Asia-Pacific region.

Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, while other staff will have until March 31, 2022, Virgin said, aligning its dates with Qantas.

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“We also remain supportive of any government-led measures to ensure travelers are vaccinated,” Virgin Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka said.

In Australia, lockdowns in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra due to coronavirus cases have led to state border closures, hampering domestic travel.

The country has not mandated vaccines for travel, but some states require them for entry in certain cases.

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Asian airlines have reported high vaccination take-up rates among pilots and cabin crew as they wait for the region’s tight pandemic-related border controls to be relaxed.

Singapore Airlines Ltd, Malaysia Airlines and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd are among those that have mandated crew vaccinations.

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