Qantas Air’s decision to ban passengers who have not received Covid-19 jab on its international flights has drawn the ire of anti-vaxxers.
The Australian flag carrier’s boss, Alan Joyce, said last week that the move would be “a necessity” when vaccines are available.
Tens of thousands of conspiracy theorists encouraged their Facebook followers to vote on online polls to say they would abandon travel plans instead of being immunised.
An online poll asked ‘will you take the vaccine to travel internationally?’ was taken over by responses from anti-vaxxer groups, with 88 per cent saying they wouldn’t fly overseas with the airline.
Anti-vaxxers also flooded the comments of Reignite Democracy Australia’s posts, opposing a potential coronavirus vaccine.
‘They can stick their vaccines up their cracks,’ one man commented on the post.
‘Why the hell would you want to be vaccinated for a virus that has a 99 per cent survival rate,’ said another.
‘Absolutely never fly Qantas again unless that CEO changes his stance on no vaccine no fly,’ a third wrote.
Australia shut down its international borders early in the pandemic and required those returning to quarantine.
The country has more recently relied on lockdowns, widespread testing and aggressive contact tracing to push daily infections nationwide close to zero.
In an interview with Australia’s Nine Network on Monday, Mr Joyce said Qantas was looking at ways of changing its terms and conditions for international travellers as the industry, which has been hit hard by travel restrictions, looks at ways of moving forward.
“We will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft… for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity,” he told the broadcaster.
“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis.” he told radio station 3AW.
Qantas reported an annual loss of almost A$2bn ($1.46bn; £1bn) because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia has recorded about 900 coronavirus-related deaths and almost 28,000 infections in total